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Authentic Mexican Regional Cooking From - Rick Bayless - itworkss

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AUTHENTIC
MEXICAN
Regional Cooking
from the
Heart of Mexico
Twentieth-Anniversary Edition
RICK BAYLESS
with
Deann Groen Bayless
Illustrations by John Sandford
Photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer
Cook’s mask with hinged mouth
To the memory of Gladys Augusta Potter, my grandmother,
who taught me that you can bring a lot more than food
to the dinner table
Contents
Preface to the Twentieth-Anniversary Edition
7
Acknowledgments
11
Introduction
13
Sauces and Condiments
37
Basic Meat Preparations, Flavorings and Broths
67
Tortillas
95
Appetizers and Salads
113
Light and Hearty Soups
132
Eggs
161
Snacks Made of Corn Masa
173
Tacos
175
Turnovers
215
Turnover Fillings
222
Enchiladas and Their Relatives
232
Other Snacks
249
Tamales
271
Moles
302
Fish and Shellfish
324
Poultry
351
Meat
375
Rice, Beans and Vegetables
411
Desserts
444
Drinks
482
Glossary of Mexican Ingredients and Equipment
513
Finding Mexican Ingredients
556
Selected Bibliography
558
Index
563
About the Authors
Cover
Copyright
About the Publisher
PREFACE TO THE
TWENTIETH-ANNIVERSARY
EDITION
In the mid-eighties, when my wife, Deann, and I were living in
Mexico—traveling through every one of that country’s thirty-one
states, exploring age-old markets, working with local cooks to learn
the dishes that had stood the test of time—I knew just what kind of
cookbook was in the making. I was crafting firsthand reports of who
was cooking what in Mexico, and exactly where they were doing it.
I was amassing historical, geographical and social context for Mexico’s regional cooking. And I was capturing vivid verbal snapshots
of authentic ingredients and traditional techniques that seemed to
be getting nudged out as more shoppers (yes, even in Mexico) opted
for the less diverse packaged stuff at mega-stores like AurrerГЎ and
Wal-Mart.
Clearly, I was writing a cookbook for Americans who would describe themselves as adventurous and dedicated cooks—definite
fans of Mexican food. And I assumed (or at least hoped) that they
had traveled (or hoped to travel) through Mexico, and had a
hankering for the non-Americanized real thing. That didn’t mean,
however, that this motivated group wouldn’t end up bewildered as
they sorted through the great variety of Mexico’s regional dishes
and ingredients.
What those adventurous, dedicated souls needed, I resolved, was
a cookbook that clearly explained the steps to traditional flavor
within the context of both their American kitchens and the native
kitchens of those who had created the traditions. Having lived for
several years in Mexico after finishing an undergraduate degree in
Spanish language and literature, followed by graduate studies in
linguistics and anthropology, I was offering to become their guide
and translator.
Little did I know how food and culture would evolve in the United
States over the next twenty years. Hispanics, the majority of them
Mexican, have become the fastest-growing immigrant group in North
America. Which means two things: most non-Hispanic Americans
8 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
don’t have to travel south of the border to encounter a taste of real
Mexico (there are “authentic” grocery stores and ma-and-pa restaurants catering to Mexicans popping up as fast as Starbucks), and oncerare ingredients like chipotle chiles, tomatillos and key limes are
now available in American grocery stores. So easily available, in
fact, that they’ve started taking on a new life in the American kitchen,
flavoring everything from barbecue sauces to chutneys to salad
dressings. Dulce de leche (aka cajeta in Mexico) has become one of the
most popular Häagen-Dazs ice cream flavors. Salsa, as we’ve heard
repeatedly from the news media, is outselling ketchup.
Regional Mexican ingredients are even available in fresher and
more convenient forms. When I was writing Authentic Mexican, tinnytasting canned tomatillos were all most Americans could find; now
citrus-bright fresh tomatillos are our norm. Back then, cilantro was
called “Chinese parsley,” and those lustrous dark-green poblanos
claimed almost no real estate in our country’s produce departments.
Smoky, spicy dried chipotle chiles used to be an American cook’s
dream; nowadays a quick search in practically any U.S. town will
produce chipotles in a variety of forms: dried (both the tan and the
red varieties), powdered, canned in adobo, even pickled. Cactus
paddles, if you were lucky to stumble upon them twenty years ago,
were slimy, pickly strips in a dusty jar; just yesterday I bought
beautifully fresh paddles for grilling at my local natural-foods grocery. Recently, when I discovered that a national retailer had started
canning roasted tomatoes—roasting tomatoes is a technique traditional Mexican cooks use to add sweetness and depth—I knew that
traditional Mexican food had taken on a more expanded role in the
American kitchen.
In short, the food of Mexico has started to shed its exotic, ethnic
character and is moving right toward the mainstream. Even MexicanAmerican food (Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, New-Mex or whatever regional
variation seems appropriate) is evolving, trading in its cheesecovered heaviness for a fresher, lighter approach that characterizes
much of the food that’s eaten south of the border.
Yet all of this accessibility of ingredients and growing familiarity
with Mexican cuisine hasn’t eliminated the need for a good set of
classic recipes. That’s why I—like so many of you—continue to turn
to Authentic Mexican for a really great tortilla soup or fresh cornpoblano chowder, for a soul-satisfying pork tinga or Yucatecan
shrimp a la vinagreta, for street-style red chile enchiladas or that savory, fruity Oaxacan mole they call manchamanteles. The recipes I
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 9
mined over many years from hundreds of Mexico’s traditional
cooks—and perfected in my American kitchen—have never let me
down.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A great number of people are responsible for the creation of this
book: My mother and stepfather, Levita and Andy Anderson, and
Deann’s mother, Edith Groen, who provided generous support, both
emotional and financial. The scores of Mexican cooks in markets,
street stalls, small restaurants and homes, who shared both the details
of their craft and a love for their specialties. Employees of the tourism
offices all over Mexico, who went out of their way to supply information on local specialties and where to find them. The people running
the gastronomical library at the offices of the Loredo restaurant
group in Mexico City, who offered unlimited access to their collection
of regional Mexican cookbooks. Cliff and Sue Small, who generously
opened their Mexican home to us and introduced us to rural Mexican
life. Carol Zylstra, Virginia Embrey and Maria Villalobos (and her
mother), who shared their love for Mexican life, knowledge of littleknown places and (in the case of Maria and her mother) delicious
recipes. Fran and Jim Murray of Murray Western Foods in Los
Angeles, who unflaggingly supported us through the years, and
Peggy Playan, who was always encouraging and gracious in spite
of our erratic consulting schedule. Craig Sumers and Brad Friedlander of Lopez y Gonzalez restaurant in Cleveland, who believed
that regional Mexican dishes were not only very tasty but could attract an enthusiastic clientele. Many friends and family (especially
Georgia and Dan Gooch, Floyd and Bonnie Groen, Paul and Macky
Groen, Jewel and Bob Hoogstoel, Bill and Yvonne Lockwood, Jan
and Dan Longone, Margot Michael, Nancy and Gary Oliver, Mary
Jane and Steve Olsen, Pep and Ilene Peterson and Peg Tappe), who
contributed valuable knowledge, encouragement and recipe-testing
skills. LuAnn Bayless, my sister, who freely devoted a good portion
of one summer to testing recipes with us, and Molly Finn, who tested
recipes in New York. Maria Guarnaschelli, my editor, who saw value
in my research and worked enthusiastically to give it a beautiful,
easily usable form. Amy Edelman, my copy editor, who scrutinized
all the details with amazing rigor, unearthing lost ingredients and
taming wayward punctuation. Molly Friedrich, my hardworking
12 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
agent, who gives sound advice. And finally, John Sandford, whose
kindness and sensitivity have made him a treasured friend and
whose brilliant illustrations lovingly celebrate regional cooking from
the heart of Mexico. My respect and thanks to you all.
Twenty years later: Thank you to those who helped us realize the
twentieth-anniversary edition: Christopher Hirsheimer for photos
that so perfectly capture the heart of Mexico; Doe Coover for organizing the details; and Stephanie Fraser, David Sweeney and Michael
Morrison from HarperCollins for seeing it to completion.
INTRODUCTION
14 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
THE TWO WORLDS OF
MEXICAN COOKING
My taste buds were trained on Mexican food. And it was real Mexican food to our family: hot tamales and tacos from a little drive-in
wedged in between a greasy auto-repair yard and a hubcap seller,
and El Charrito down on Paseo with its oozy cheese-and-onion enchiladas smothered with that delicious chile gravy. We knew it was
authentic, assertive, almost wickedly good Mexican fare, and we
knew there were few places to find it outside Oklahoma City.
In Austin at El Patio, we found the food tasty, as we did at Mi
Tierra and at a few places on up through Dallas and Forth Worth.
But in New Mexico, even the best-loved Mexican restaurants served
dishes that, to my taste, were unexpectedly different. And when I
made it to totally Mexican East Los Angeles some years later, I
truthfully came across nothing with that familiar savor of home. I
ate in the recommended family-run joints—the ones that reminded
me of the tamale drive-in back home, and El Charrito and El Patio.
Oh, the food was good, but not like the Mexican food that heritage
had convinced me was the best.
There in East L.A., they claimed to serve the real food of Mexico…and that I found surprising.
I suppose it’s that way with most folks who’ve learned the world’s
cuisines at their local eateries and loved them. Then they venture
out; they set that first foot onto foreign soil, and their noses don’t
catch a whiff of anything expected. Menus filled with the best (even
better-than-the-best) versions of dishes they’d learned at home
never materialize. And they return home, a little more world-wise,
to report with disappointment (and a little pride) that Mexican food
down at Pablo’s, say, is better than anything you can find in Mexico.
When I first saw Mexico and ate what it offered, I was too innocently captivated by foreign ways to afford myself that opinion. I
lapped up what was put before me, was convinced I loved it, and,
of course, felt it necessary to feign at least some understanding. But
with time that wonderment wore off, and I began to see that I would
have to either go back to the El Charrito I knew so well or figure out
what these puzzlingly enticing dishes really were and why they
weren’t like anything at home.
I did both. And after a number of years shuffling between the two
cultures, I have come to a simple answer: There have developed two
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 15
independent systems of Mexican cooking. The first is from Mexico,
and (with all due respect to what most of us eat and enjoy in this
country) it is the substantial, wide-ranging cuisine that should be
allowed its unadulterated, honest name: Mexican. The second system
is the Mexican-American one, and, in its many regional varieties,
can be just as delicious. But its range is limited, and to my mind it
forms part of the broader system of North American (or at least
Southwest North American) cookery.
Mexico’s Mexican food has rarely been imported to the United
States, except to a few well-insulated Mexican neighborhoods like
the one in East Los Angeles and some on the South Side of Chicago.
The Mexican-American style of cooking seems to win out most
everywhere else that paisanos set up shop. Even in the small family
restaurants, the inflexible health-department guidelines must be
conformed to, the “general” customer’s tastes accommodated. Progress, sadly, seems to be made most quickly by North Americanization.
What I’ve discovered, though, while teaching Mexico’s Mexican
cooking throughout the United States, is that most North Americans
don’t really even know well-prepared Mexican-American foods.
Their unhappy experience is often limited to some mass-produced
takeoff on the Southwest Traditional at a Chi Chi’s or El Torito’s or
whatever the regional chain restaurant is called. And unfortunately,
at the hands of such forces, Mexican-American food seems to have
suffered unmercifully, to have become a near-laughable caricature
created by groups of financially savvy businessmen-cum-restaurateurs who saw the profits in beans and rice and margaritas.
Mexico and the fare of its peoples is thoroughly different from all
that, and most North Americans are understandably unprepared
for it. The repertory is broad and variable, and it reflects the history
and individuality of the country’s distinct regions. Much of the
produce is local and seasonal, not yet genetically engineered. Mexico’s European-and-Indian soul feels the intuitions of neither barebones Victorianism nor Anglo-Saxon productivity.
Frankly, Mexican fare and its attendant customs can be so unexpectedly different that many first-time visitors to our next-door
neighbor find themselves taking refuge in the Denny’s or the continental dining rooms simply from the stun of its rich diversity. But
with the most rudimentary introduction, the unexpected can become
anticipated. And then, perhaps, comfortable and magnetic, as it has
for me.
16 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
MEXICO’S CULINARY HERITAGE
When the first Spaniard set foot on New World soil, he was, without
knowing it, breaking the seal on a highly developed world of altogether different plants, animals and people. Fully six and a half
millennia earlier, the humans that had hunted and gathered on this
continent began to settle into agricultural ways, and through those
centuries they developed one of the major horticultural systems in
the history of humankind.
The earliest foods to emerge in the agricultural camp were some
beans and a squash that at first seemed good only for its meaty seeds,
then for its golden flowers and tender leaves, and finally for its edible
pulp. Nutritive, tasty chiles were added, and, within a short thousand
years or two, the primal kernels of the corn cob—the builders and
sustainers of American civilization—had been tamed from the tiny
wild grain.1 “In focusing their attention on maize, beans, and
squash,” say Peter Farb and George Armelagos in Consuming Passions, “the domesticators thus merely had to copy a natural model.
Both in their habits of growth and in the nutrition they offer, the
three plants complement one another.”2
Now, the way those early domesticators had developed for making
edible their domestic and wild-gathered produce would probably
not have stimulated anyone’s culinary curiosity. But by 1519, when
the Spaniards made their conquering march into the future home
of Mexico City, all that had changed.
The peoples that made up the Meso-American empires had orchards full of avocados, coconuts, papayas, pineapples, prickly pears
and a long list of others whose names don’t ring familiar in our ears.
Their farms grew the father of our red tomato and a little green husk
“tomato”; there were chiles, manioc, sweet potatoes, four kinds of
squash, peanuts and at least five major strains of beans. Epazote was
the herb of preference (as it is today), and there were huge quantities
of amaranth and chГ­a seeds to make into porridge and unleavened
cakes.
The Aztecs’ domination was felt far and wide in this part of
1
Paul C. Mangelsdorf, Richard S. MacNeith and Gordon R. Willey, “The Origins
of Agriculture in Middle America,” Handbook of Middle American Indians, ed. Robert
Waushope (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1964), vol. 1, pp. 430–431.
2
Peter Farb and George Armelagos, Consuming Passions (Boston: Houghton
Mifflin, 1980), p. 202.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 17
America. They had subjugated all the competition from YucatГЎn to
barren Northern Mexico, but it was a top-heavy domination that
sucked all but the guts out of many of the neighboring societies.
Everyday people were on a subsistence diet of sweet or chilied atole
(porridge), some beans and the necessary allotment of tortillas; meat
was scarce and fruit only a little less so.3 When shortages came, the
people’s recent emergence from the less civilized life of nomadic
gatherers showed through: The whole system lacked a fundamental
stability.
But in the face of all this uncertainty, the lordly houses had tables
set with such brilliant flavors and ingeniously constructed dishes
that their presence is still felt in the best Mexican kitchens. Beyond
the simple boiled or pit-cooked domestic turkeys, Muscovy ducks,
venison and little dogs, these households commanded all manner
of wild quails and peccary, pigeons and a remarkable variety of fish
and shellfish from the coasts as well as local waters.4
Cortés described the dishes at Emperor Montezuma’s table as
being of four classes: meat, fish, herbs and fruit.5 The great, good
Friar SahagГєn was more detailed in his astoundingly thorough enthnography of that early Aztec society. He detailed two basic sorts
of sauces for the stewed dishes that simmered in the traditional
earthenware cazuelas. One was thickened with ground pumpkinseeds
and flavored with red chiles and tomatoes—called pipián in the mid
1500s when SahagГєn wrote, and still known by that name today.
The second was a kind of chile sauce or tomato sauce, depending
on your perspective and the proportions of ingredients.6
Most royal homes served this kind of highly flavored food with
tortillas of all sorts. Some were smooth, others made from roughground corn. The cooks prepared tlacoyos and gorditas like the ones
popular today; and Aztecs apparently loved tamales and turnovers
as much as their modern ancestors do.7
3
Jacques Soustelle, Daily Life of the Aztecs on the Eve of the Conquest, trans. Patrick
O’Brian (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), pp. 148–154.
4
Ibid.
5
HernГЎn CortГ©s, Conquest: Dispatches of CortГ©s from the New World. Intro. and
commentary by Irwin Blacker (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1962), p. 61.
6
Fray Bernardino de SahagГєn, General History of the Things of New Spain, trans.
and annotated by Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble (Santa Fe, NM: The
School of American Research, 1953), vol. 9, pp. 37–40.
7
Ibid., and Ana M. de BenГ­tez, Cocina prehispГЎnica (MГ©xico, D.F.: Ediciones
Euroamericanas, 1974), pp. 34–48.
18 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
The greatest concentration of royal households was in the capital,
TenochtitlГЎn. And there is little doubt that the streets of this beautiful
city were some of the most active in the world of that time. The
market was massive enough to hold sixty thousand souls buying
and selling, estimated HernГЎn CortГ©s.8 It was filled with incalculable
variety, and varieties of variety, according to SahagГєn. Beans, fish,
chiles, meat…even prepared stews and sauces, roasted meats and
guacamole.9 The whole must have been spectacular, and, in spite of
the passing of four centuries and disparate rulers, it sounds not unlike the aggressively sensual offerings in and around the colossal
Merced market at the center of present-day Mexico City.
The first city was cultured—albeit from a different source than
our culture—and, perhaps for the first time, the Spaniards encountered a sect that thought them rather barbaric. Of course, the
opposite was true in other respects, but it’s clear from what was
written down by CortГ©s and his soldier Bernal DГ­az del Castillo that
the refinements of the Aztec ruling class were impressive. They both
described the banquets with myriad dishes, the ceremonial handwashing, the beautiful red and black dishes and the gilded chocolate
cups filled with that foaming, exotically flavored drink of nobles.10
By a decade after the 1521 fall of TenochtitlГЎn, the Mexican natives
had already adopted a new set of flavors into their existing large
assortment. There seemed to be an “absence of strong cultural resistance to the introduction and use of foreign plants,” as one researcher found recently when he tried to discover what had become of so
many of those pre-Columbian crops in modern Mexico.11
Spice traders brought cinnamon, black pepper and cloves; everyone wanted the common European thyme, marjoram and bay
leaves.12 As early as the second voyage of Columbus, the first load
8
CortГ©s, op. cit., p. 55.
9
SahagГєn, op. cit., vol.
10
10, pp. 65–94.
Bernal Díaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain, trans. J. M. Cohen (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1963), pp. 224–227; and Cortés, op. cit.,
p. 61.
11
Angel Palerm, “Agricultural Systems and Food Patterns” in Robert Waushope,
ed., Handbook of Middle American Indians. (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press,
1967), vol. 6, p. 44.
12
Virginia RodrГ­guez Rivera, La comida en el MГ©xico antiquo y moderno (MГ©xico,
D.F.: Editorial Pormaca, 1965), p. 10.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 19
of wheat, chickpeas, melons, onions, radishes, salad greens, grapes,
sugar cane and fruit stones had made their way to America.13
Though the Indians knew well the ways of agriculture, they had
domesticated only a small selection of animals. So when the Spaniards came with horses, hogs, cattle and chickens, they were welcomed immediately. By the end of Cortés’s life, meat was plentiful,
wheat bread was cheap, rice was growing where wheat and corn
could not; in fact, most all the fruits, vegetables and other new important food crops like sesame seeds, almonds and citrus were in
the land.14
But several European foodstuffs failed to thrive in America, and
that, of course, meant that the Spanish diet found itself in a state of
transition perhaps as great as that of the Indians. Olive trees yielded
little, so there was little oil; grapevines did quite miserably, which
meant—devastatingly for the Spaniards—less wine. The newcomers
never lovingly embraced the ubiquitous corn, but their wheat did
well and the meat those Iberian cattle ranchers relied on grew at a
rate previously unknown.15
Bernal DГ­az describes a 1538 banquet in the court of the Spanish
conquerors that lays bare the early tastes of the Spanish branch of
the Mexican family. They had a sweet tooth (Spain had just reconquered its own land from seven centuries of sweet-loving Arab
domination), and they served great quantities of marzipan and their
other favorites. They made little birds in a pickling sauce (escabeche)
that Yucatecans still prepare; they put together salads and vegetable
dishes; they roasted meats; they set out cheese and bread and dishes
made with lots of eggs; and they showed plainly their newly acquired
partiality for the cup of chocolate.16
For several centuries that strain of Spanish blood stayed as pure
as any of them could have hoped for in a land as alluring as Mexico.
But all the while, of course, the Indian blood was becoming more
mestizo, and stronger, and less content with the pure-white ruling
crust. The War of Independence in 1821 was the first blow to the
Crown, but not so much to the whites’ control. Then, in the revolu13
Alfred Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,
1972), pp. 67–68.
14
Ibid., pp. 70, 76–77, 106–108.
15
Ibid., pp. 71–72, 76, 98.
16
Bernal DГ­az del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la Nueva Espana (Buenos Aires:
Espasa-Calpe Argentina, 1955), p. 627.
20 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
tion of 1910, the world saw a change: the emergence of a new Mexico,
a more honestly mestizo Mexico.
The food that the people of this newly emerged country put on
their tables had seen a slow, four-century evolution—a flowing together of royal Aztec court tradition, ecumenical Old World Spanish
fare and bits and pieces left from French, North American and other
people’s involvement. Perhaps it had seen its first independent life
in the kitchens of the ubiquitous convents, where the Spanish nuns
had to work hand-in-hand with Indian girls who knew the country’s
produce. Or it may have been the everyday cooks whose inventiveness led them to pepper their well-proved cooking with all things
new. Whatever it was, the roots of today’s Mexican food are buried
deep in the first native tastes and traditional ways. And like all things
that reveal Indian heritage, mestizo Mexican cooking has been a
long time in coming out of the back rooms, market fondas and street
stalls into respectable spots where it can be enjoyed at its delicious
best.
THE TAPESTRY OF
MEXICAN FLAVOR
The Mexican Marketplace
In the middle of the market, practically any Mexican market, the
floor is rough, stained concrete; it’s dark enough in the cavernous
room that some vendors have turned on the one or two bare, weak
bulbs they’ve strung over their goods to show the blush on the
mangoes, the crimson skin of the tomatoes or the fine, green, freshdug cilantro (coriander). There is a damp coolness that hangs close
to the ground and a thick, constantly evolving aroma that hovers
and roams; by the end of the day, or the year, the aroma will have
become every aroma.
A woman with cropped, curled hair stands a few steps up behind
a series of wide sturdy baskets set onto her tiered countertop. Her
face is unengaged, as if her spirit had taken refuge elsewhere, until
the approach of a potential customer triggers the automatic “¡Qué
va a llevar?” (“What are you going to take?”) into the noisy mixture
of identical questions from neighboring stalls. Her bronze hands
sweep past her mounds of black or yellow or pinto or white beans,
past her large kernels of dried corn, past her rice.
The wave of entreaties follows the customers through the market,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 21
through aisles of vegetable sellers whose counters are large angled
troughs heaped with small firm-textured potatoes, sweet potatoes,
fresh field corn, green-and-tan pumpkins and masses of ripe-smelling
tomatoes so perfectly beautiful they could bring tears to a North
American eye. The heavy produce gives way to neat piles of tomatillos, cactus paddles and round light-green squash, to little pyramids
of black- or green-skinned avocados, to bunches of Swiss chard,
spinach and dock, to huge mounds of large green chiles to buy by
the kilo.
The air gets close and fills with a sanguinary smell at the end of
the aisle, where the butchers have their refrigerated cases. You can
take the step up onto the wooden platform that lies in front of each
stall to peer at the fresh beef, or what’s been dried or half-dried; you
can point to the part of the pork loin you want, inspect the plumpness
of the chickens, survey the age on the sausage or choose the largest
eggs.
Someone has dragged in an old wooden table to display his oncea-week sale of goat or lamb. There’s another make-shift stand with
dried fish and shrimp, and a lady with a three-foot basket of hot
bolillo rolls she’s carried from the bakery.
The fish sellers have easy-to-wash concrete slabs where they set
out their snapper, snook, mullet, catfish, shark and mackerel. Perhaps
there are little crabs if the market is near the ocean, perhaps shrimp,
squid and octopus. Certainly there are a dozen or more varieties
awaiting the stewpot or skillet.
In one way or another it all goes into the stewpot or skillet—the
beans, dried corn and rice, the vegetables, greens, chicken and the
like. For these are the essential components of the Mexican diet,
though certainly not what gives that diet its well-known character.
No, it’s the chiles—the dried, fresh and pickled chiles, the sweet
and the picante chiles—that make it seem really Mexican. And the
spices like cinnamon, clove, cumin, anise and black pepper; the herbs
like cilantro, epazote, thyme, bay leaves and marjoram; the sprinkling
of milky, acidy, salty fresh cheese; the sharp, raw red or white onion
or the freshly squeezed lime juice. Plus that sweet aromatic undercurrent of well-cooked garlic and white onion that runs through
most of the dishes on the table. Those are the distinctive flavors that
make Mexico’s essential nutritional elements taste Mexican. And
they’re scattered in the market, too, in among the other vegetables
or the greens, or set out in small baskets in front of the congregation
of spice sellers.
22 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Tradition has taught the cooks how to weave the flavorings together into well-loved combinations that lift the national spirit (or at
least reaffirm it). The crowds on the waterfront near downtown
Veracruz enjoy tostadas topped with lime-marinated fish with tomato, green chile and fresh coriander; they eat tacos from the tiny
taquerГ­as and lace them with avocado enriched with tomato, green
chile, fresh coriander and lime (guacamole) or with the relishlike
salsa mexicana of tomatoes, green chile, fresh coriander, onion and a
little lime or vinegar. Ripe, raw tomato, green chile, lime…
The Mexican tourists come to that port town to order their spicy
crab soup (chilpachole) with its well-cooked base of pureed tomatoes
sparked with chipotle or other dried hot chiles. They wouldn’t think
of leaving without their fish a la veracruzana in fresh, chunky tomato
sauce mellowed with herbs and simmered with pickled green chiles.
At breakfast, they eat fried eggs with the traditional ranchera sauce
of coarsely pureed tomatoes, onion and green chiles; or perhaps they
want their everyday favorite of eggs scrambled with onion, tomato
and green chiles. Tomatoes cooked with chiles: The cooks of every
region make a sauce with them and brand it with their own methods
or special ingredients.
The same is also true, though certainly to a lesser extent, when
the tomato is replaced with the small, husk-covered, tart tomatillo.
It makes bright-tasting sauces and stew bases, flecked with coriander
or simmered with epazote. Tomatillo and chile: another classic Mexican
flavoring.
A fourth is more foreign to the American taste, though once it has
burrowed itself into your memory, there is no scent or savor that
spells Mexico any more completely. It is found in the celebratory
mole, with its pulpy puree of rehydrated dried red chile seasoned
with cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. And since it’s a fiesta dish,
the deep-red chile sauce is thickened with nuts and seeds and, of
course, flavored with chocolate. But every day, cooks in every region
soak their chiles, puree and prepare them to suit their tastes. Mixed
with vinegar for a flavorful marinade, seasoned with cumin for a
stew, ground with pumpkinseeds for the centuries-old
pipián—they’re all tasty examples of sauces and stews thick with
once-dried chiles.
Dishes would all carry the national stamp if they were prepared
with these four distinctive combinations of flavors; but without the
exuberant, lively, traditional garnishes, the dishes would seem like
half-breeds. They need their crunchy raw onion or sprinkling of
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 23
crumbled, sharp, fresh cheese. Almost no brothy soup would taste
quite right without a squirt of fresh lime, perhaps a little dried
oregano or spoon of crushed dried chile or diced green chile. Snacks
would speak with the wrong accent if there was no crunchy lettuce
or fresh cabbage, no chile sauce (the bottled, vinegary stuff or a traditional blend of hot dried chiles, tomatillos and garlic). Without the
colorful, flavorful contrasts that the garnishes give, nothing would
taste or look like the beautiful, traditional fare I’m so partial to.
Ways of the Mexican Kitchen
My tongue tells me it isn’t solely the staples and spices that make
the flavor, but almost equally as much the way those Mexican
foodstuffs are reduced to saucy mixtures or simmered into warm
soups or stews. Rudimentary boiling, unsurprisingly, is the way to
soften the dried corn, the beans and tough meat, but in the old
Mexican kitchen boiling also mixed in the earthy taste of the clay
cooking pots they call cazuelas. Nowadays, glossier materials are
beginning to take the clay’s place, so the everyday boiling is simply
that: a long, tenderizing bubbling in a pot.
There are two techniques that still give a distinctive Mexican flavor, though. The first I call the asar technique, from the verb asar,
meaning to broil, brown, roast, sear, toast (to offer a handful of
English words that convey a little of what happens when the asar
technique is employed). The large green chiles are flame-roasted,
then peeled; dried ones are toasted on a griddle to deepen their flavor
and release their aroma into the room. Garlic is turned in its skin on
a hot, dry surface beside the tomatoes and tomatillos; they blacken
and blister, while their flavor concentrates and mellows. Meat is
seared on the open fire, and the corn dough called masa, in all its
forms from tortillas to boat-shaped sopes, is cooked on the dry iron
or clay surfaces. The flavors intensify, they deepen and take on a
savory earthiness.
The second technique that gives Mexican distinction to many
cooked dishes is the initial searing of the pureed sauce ingredients,
the “frying of the sauce” as I often call it. A little fat in a hot pan,
then in goes the chile or tomato puree, and it sizzles vigorously and
fries and concentrates into a thick mass. In essence, it takes on a
seared quality, that makes, say, a Mexican tomato sauce seem quite
unrelated to the slow-simmered Italian spaghetti sauces.
The last of the techniques that set Mexican cooking apart is the
grinding. It began millennia ago with corn crushed on a rock slab
24 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
(metate) to make the dough for tortillas. The slab proved good for
grinding rehydrated chiles, for nuts and seeds, for cacao beans and
even the tender curds of fresh cheese. A bowl-shaped rock mortar
(molcajete) worked for spices and contained the juices of tomatoes
and tomatillos. And until recently, it was those hand-powered
grinders that blended the nutritious flavorings into the often-used,
thick, tasty purees. Now it is the electric blender or spice grinder,
with fast-running blades, but the effect isn’t the same. The blender
whirs and chops it all into small bits, where the old metate and molcajete crushed the foodstuffs and smoothed them into a paste. In my
mind, there is little doubt that the stone slab makes the best moles,
though it’s out of most North Americans’ range. The mortar, on the
other hand, is manageable and one of the most useful pieces of kitchen equipment: to powder spices so you get their full aroma, or to
pound chiles, garlic and tomatoes into a deliciously thick-textured
sauce.
Each element—the staples, the flavorings, the garnishes and the
cooking techniques—makes it Mexican food; how, when and where
it’s eaten make it Mexican life.
Regional Tastes
“…Mexico has a faint, physical scent of her own, as each human
being has” was D. H. Lawrence’s observation. To me it seems strange,
almost paradoxical, that such a singular scent could linger over a
country as diverse as Mexico—but it does.
The land mass itself, as it has been arbitrarily contained and divided by modern governments, is only one third the size of our
United States. Yet it rises and falls with more variety of plant life
and human life, more formations and colors and textures and smells
and tastes than any country on earth. Each of Mexico’s six regions17
mixes a distinct aroma into the persistent scent that gives Mexico
17
I have cut up the country into six regions, each one with its own style of cooking.
Some analysts may have drawn the lines a little differently, but rarely will you
meet a Mexican who doesn’t clearly differentiate six main breeds of his compatriots:
Chilango (Mexico City), TapatГ­o (Guadalajara), Jarocho (Veracruz), Norteno (the
North), Yucateco (Yucatan) and Oaxaqueno (Oaxaca). It was those personalities
that formed the core of each of my regions. From there, I looked at the natural
topographical divisions of the land, the climate and vegetational zones; I matched
them with ethnic concentrations, histories and state boundaries. And the regional
divisions that emerged have proved as useful for capturing culinary distinctions,
I think, as they have for all others.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 25
its Mexican unity; each region displays a different facet of the Mexican cook’s resourcefulness, tradition and imagination.
Central Mexico illustrates the duality of lo mexicano: the Spaniard
and the Aztec, the modern and the earth-bound primitive. The
famous sparkling candy shops of Puebla line up a few blocks from
the old market where the classic, centuries-old mole poblano gurgles
in huge cazuelas, fragrant with dried chiles, herbs and spices. Just
miles from Mexico City’s most elegant restaurants are the Tolucan
Indian produce vendors with their dozens of herbs—both medicinal
and culinary—and their colorful array of wild mushrooms.
Southern Mexico, particularly Oaxaca, exhibits a vital Indian
heritage. The black-braided Indian cooks mix a remarkable variety
of dried peppers into Mexico’s most varied sauces and stews. It is
savory, well-spiced fare redolent with sweet spices like cloves and
cinnamon; it is complex and distinctive, and it’s flavored with the
sure hand of tradition.
West-Central Mexico is thoroughly mestizo. It is the essence of
national flavors drizzled on crispy fried pork carnitas or sprinkled
in a bowl of pozole. It is the home of mariachis and tequila, of fried
tacos and red-chile enchiladas. It is, perhaps, Mexico’s most prominent profile, the one least obviously chiseled from ancient Indian
ways.
The Gulf states are warm tropical states that rise up from the wellstocked coastal waters to cool mountains known for growing good
coffee. This is the land of simple, well-seasoned cooking—fish with
tomatoes, herbs and olives, spicy crab soup, turnovers and butterfried plantains. There is something of a European character to the
spicing and garnishing and there’s a Caribbean lilt to the songs that
are sung.
The YucatГЎn, though half on the Gulf and half on Caribbean waters, owes little to either. The YucatГЎn is Mayan, and its original
settlers were a progressive, independent lot. In fact, the YucatГЎn has
remained so independent that the national Mexican scent is faintest
there, overwhelmed almost entirely at times by the beloved achiote
seasoning. The regional specialties are among Mexico’s most unusual:
from the pork in banana leaves to the egg-stuffed, pumpkinseedsauced papadzules, from wild turkey with masa-thickened white sauce
to chicken with vinegar and spices. When you taste the delicate
balance of Yucatecan seasoning, the complex red-chile sauces traditional in the rest of Mexico seem countries away.
26 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
If pressed to choose the culinary element that ties together diverse
Northern Mexico, I’d have to say it is fire: smoky hot embers. They
give character to fish on the west coast, kid around Monterrey and
steaks nearly everywhere. They add char to the rustic taste of beef
jerky and chewiness to chorizo sausage. Northern flavors are forthright, frontier flavors—just the kind to wrap in warm flour tortillas.
Mexico
MEXICO, EATING
As Mexico’s independent gastronomical traditions evolved from
the remnants of Aztec grandeur and Spanish forcefulness, the
countrymen grasped those traditions with tenacity. And, during
that evolution, all this feeding and being fed entered as much into
the public domain as it stayed in the private one. Today, one of the
most noticeable characteristics of the Mexican table is that it’s filled
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 27
with people, exchanging some common spirit and sharing at least
this one necessary pleasure.
The sharing takes place in a variety of settings besides the home.
If a town has a central square, it will no doubt have a coffee shop
(cafetería) for basic Mexican nourishment…and the mandatory cup
of coffee. If there are more than a few dozen people walking the
streets, someone will have set up a stand to sell a treacherously good
snack that only cooks of that region know how to make well. There
will be restaurantes with their own Mexican character, and market
fondas and taco stands (taquerías) for folks who aren’t too proud to
enjoy their fare. Each Mexican eatery has its place in the gastronomical doings.
Restaurantes
If a Mexican eating place carries the name restaurante and really is
one, it offers a specific blend of service, ambience and fare. More
often than not, though, a labeled restaurante turns out to be a utilitarian coffee shop (cafeterГ­a), a polished Continental dining room, or
perhaps a more privately indigenous fonda. The true Mexican restaurante is distinct, though it combines something of all three.
What I call typical, traditional restaurantes pop up in urban settings
throughout the country, and one of the most characteristic was built
in 1916 in the oldest section of Mexico City, behind the Cathedral
that sits on the zГіcalo. The sign reads FONDA LAS CAZUELAS: fonda
for the Mexican hominess provided by the long, glassed-in kitchen
that lines one side of the dining room, cazuelas for the mammoth
earthenware cooking pots steaming-full with the essential patriotic
stews. The room is appointed with lovely Mexican tiles and a few
bold paintings. There is a bank of jacketed waiters, whose proud
professional service begins at about 1:30 P.M. as they usher the first
clientele to the boxy, cloth-covered tables and high, ladder-back
chairs.
As in many restaurantes, tables at Las Cazuelas are set with good
crusty bolillos and good butter. There’s a plate of delicious entremeses
(appetizers) for the asking: crisp-fried pork rinds that snap and
crackle in your mouth; juicy cubes of pork to roll into fresh tortillas,
spread with guacamole and garnish with cactus salad; and little
deep-fried turnovers stuffed with cheese or potato to dab with the
sharp green sauce on the table.
By two-thirty or three o’clock the place is full of office parties, a
few businessmen and lots of families; there is an air of celebration
28 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
at Las Cazuelas, as there has been for decades. The quieter musicians
that may show up in other restaurantes are replaced here by mariachis
who ignite the room with voice, trumpets and strings. With their
vitality, every table feels like it’s in the heart of a party.
Traditionally, midday has been the time to be at home with the
family, sharing dinner: a time guarded firmly—in some instances
religiously—by parents who want to show their children the integrity
of the family’s structure while breeding into them a preference for
national flavor. From time to time, though, the families move out of
the sanctity of their dining room into a respected restaurante for a
special celebration. It’s easy to pick up the conservative tradition
they carry with them, and it seems to be catered to unwaveringly
in restaurants like Las Cazuelas.
Nearly everyone who writes about Mexicans at table describes
the same, uniquely Mexican order of dishes in the traditional midday
dinner (comida). It’s a succession of five preparations (or courses, if
you wish) that demonstrates a New World interpretation of
European eating patterns. The first dish to come to the table is a
bowl of soup, more often than not made with chicken broth. Next
is rice, in flavors that range from tomato-red to herb-green, perhaps
mixed with diced vegetables or topped with a fried egg. The main
dish that follows is frequently stewed fowl or meat in a deliciously
forthright sauce, possibly with a few potatoes or vegetables mixed
in, and always accompanied by warm tortillas. Before dessert, there
is a portion of beans, most chroniclers say; then the meal resolves
with a bowl of stewed fruit, pudding or the like.
On the whole, the life force of this Mexican midday comida remains
alive, but evolving. You sense the strength of its tradition in coffee
shops and fondas (small eateries serving home-style food), where
there is usually a daily, fixed-course meal (comida corrida) on the
menu. It will frequently follow the traditional pattern, but rarely in
these modern times are there any beans, unless the place serves
small portions and caters to hard workers.
Las Cazuelas is a full-fledged restaurant, though, not a utilitarian
eatery. Most diners there pick out their own courses for a special
dinner. They start with appetizers of tender pork pieces, turnovers,
avocado or shrimp cocktails, cactus salad or pickled pigs’ feet. Perhaps they’ll skip the soup (though many Mexicans would contend
that you don’t have a proper meal without soup), perhaps the rice.
Orders go out for the flat steaks called carne asada, for chiles rellenos,
for beef tips with tomato and green chile, for fish a la veracruzana,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 29
for stewed chicken in mole or any number of locally known tomato, tomatillo- or chile-thick sauces; some diners will ask for the variety
meats because there is always a good selection that is well prepared.
All this respected fare is consumed with beer or soda pop, even
in nice restaurants. There could be a bottle of stalwart Mexican wine,
limeadelike sangria or a deliciously sweet agua fresca of fresh fruit,
tamarind and such. As the members of each party finish their main
dishes and move on to rice pudding, flan or sweet fresh-cheese pie,
they ask for their syrupy strong cups of spicy coffee. And the big
tables of partying co-workers continue to nurse along bottles of
brandy and Coke set out on the tables, or they start ritual rounds of
tequila.
By six or seven o’clock, Las Cazuelas has seen the last of its diners.
The cazuelas themselves are close to empty and the mariachis pack
away their horns, violins and guitars until tomorrow, when it all
happens again. Las Cazuelas, like many traditional restaurantes,
doesn’t attract an evening crowd through the poor downtown streets.
For a large, late meal, people go where the ambience feels more
continental.
Many of the traditional restaurants that hold a vivid place in my
memory are specialty regional restaurants. Some of them feel the
warm, saline breeze of the Pacific, Gulf or Caribbean and serve seafood from local waters in the locally preferred styles. Some serve
thick, good steaks, chewy pork carnitas or maguey-wrapped lamb
barbacoa. Others are bedecked with the handiwork of regional artisans
and feature stews, sauces and even some of the legendary antojitos
(usually masa-based snacks) and sweets that hold a special place in
the area’s culinary repertory.
In the smaller towns, the distinguishing characteristics of restaurants begin to fade. There often aren’t the customers for the higherpriced specialties, and the restaurants find themselves doing duty
from dawn well into the dark hours, serving eggs and snacks right
along with their main-course fare. They call themselves restaurantes,
but they’ve taken on the role that, in the cities, belongs to cafeterías.
CafeterГ­as
CafeterГ­as (or what are cafГ©s in Northern Mexico) have nothing to do
with the self-serve, steam-table operations of our country. Rather,
they are informal, sit-down eating places, and in Mexico they serve
a function different from that of the restaurantes: They’re something
like a public social club. While the restaurante seems built to preserve
30 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
the best of venerable tradition, the cafeterГ­a is a stage for the working
out of contemporary Mexican life.
I lived above one of these coffee shops for months in Mexico City.
One of the waitresses turned on the fluorescent lights at seven o’clock
every morning, and the cooks heated the griddle and the skillets.
Not long after, the neighbors and local office workers began to filter
in for tall glasses of cafГ© con leche and plates of saucy huevos rancheros
or scrambled eggs a la mexicana or with chorizo sausage. Morning
business went at a fast clip there, some customers choosing only a
quick liquid breakfast or fare as mundane as corn flakes, or Mexican
sweet breads, or thick-crusted bolillos, split, toasted and swabbed
with butter. There seemed always to be others, also, with that desperately voracious look from too few hours asleep (or too many with
a glass at hand), and they asked for the tube-shaped, crispy chicken
tacos, tough little steaks (bistec, carne asada or cecina) and tortillas
simmered with spicy green sauce and gobbed with cream, salty
cheese and raw onion (chilaquiles).
The day slipped on more quietly, but the cafeterГ­a remained occupied. Men and women sat at the Formica tables, many of them alone
or in quiet pairs, drinking espresso or the weaker version they called,
appropriately, americano; and they stared out the plate-glass front
at the uniformed school kids on the overused sidewalks and at the
delivery men with full handcarts.
The midday dinner hour at our cafeterГ­a was more formal than at
a lot of them, with tablecloths and a substantial, inexpensive fourdish comida corrida: We were, after all, in the heart of the city, where
not all men went home for the sacred meal. Most cafeterГ­as, whether
they’d made up a comida corrida or not, kept right on with the coffee,
enchiladas, tostadas and sandwiches, nutritive soups, fruit salads,
breaded cutlets and other light fare; ours fancied itself a restaurant,
at least for a little while.
When night came, I could see the fluorescent lights reflected in
the pharmacy window across the street. I could hear the clinking of
beer cans on the uncovered tables surrounded by traveling businessmen. When I sat in the middle of it—next to the neighborhood folks
in for eggs, tacos, hot cakes, pie, coffee or gossip—it provided, even
for me in that foreign land, a sense of community.
The Market and Its Fondas
Markets, to people who have not grown up with them, have an unmistakably exotic, bazaarlike air. They are alive with urgent activity,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 31
with unrelenting sensory stimulation. The displays of fruit, vegetables and herbs are masses of color and perfume—not pristine works
of art, but examples of thriving richness and ingenious display.
And in among all this vital abundance there are always the simple
spots for folks to eat—either those who come by to shop or those
who work the stalls. They may be little stand-up booths that supply
fruit drinks, tamales and masa porridge (atole), tacos or sandwiches;
or they might be fondas for more substantial food. It is the latter that
represent one of the most conservative elements in the community,
especially when it comes to how folks nourish themselves. Most
don’t even post a sign to list the variety they offer; those who eat in
them know all too well the local, traditional fare.
Since I’ve never completely understood the political, economic or
social forces involved in choosing one fonda over its identical
neighbor, I usually follow like a sheep and plant myself at the one
that looks busiest. I ask for whatever they have: a bowl of meaty
vegetable or vermicelli soup; tripe soup (menudo) or hominy soup
(pozole) or rice with fried egg; meatballs, chicken or innards stewed
to community standard in strong moles or spicy green- or red-tomato
sauces.
The scene is as exotic as the market itself. A haze of frying oil
hangs in the sunlight that streams in the market roof. It mixes with
the earth smell that rises from underfoot and with the good aromas
simmering up from the clay or enameled-metal pots. Deep milkyglass plates hold in the victuals on the dinettes, spoons are in a glass
and tiny paper napkins sit in their wrapper. The lady who cooks
crisscrosses with the roaming, shawl-wrapped tortilla seller as she
carries the flavorful goods to the folks who’ve stopped.
It’s branded, local food. It’s a homey, inexpensive meal made
daily, and to me it seems as unchangeable as the evasive spirit that
makes the feeders and the fed the Mexicans that they are.
Out on the street are the more progressive, modern fondas, carrying
names like restaurante or cocina económica (“economical cooking”)
and comida familiar (“family-style food”). Meals are had here in
brightly lit rooms that stay open into the night, and their bill of fare
is likely to be painted on the wall and targeted at a broader audience.
These eateries are the easily accessible source of the more segregated market cooking, and each day they put together a different setprice, set-menu comida corrida that usually features popular local
preparations. Like some market fondas, they make good enchiladas,
32 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
huevos rancheros and hearty soups. And progressive as they are,
they’ve learned to dress it all up with a radio or jukebox, and with
dessert and fried steak and potatoes.
Tacos, Tortas and Other Street Food
Late in the evening, after the midday dinner is far in the past, nourishment comes from a new round of public edibles. To some, it may
seem surprising that after a late-afternoon dinner there would be
any reason to approach the table again, but more than simple bodily
sustenance seems to lead the Mexican in that direction. Where tradition and family sanctity are a focus of the comida, friends and fun
play a role at supper.
The coffee shops will serve a new round of simple eggs and enchiladas, pancakes and sandwiches. Folks will go for walks or sit
with people they know over coffee or hot chocolate or beer. Honest
fast-food spots fire up their griddles, steamers and charcoal, and
street vendors sprout up everywhere.
TaquerГ­as are the definitive snack sellers, and they have certainly
come to typify “Mexican food” to many outside Mexico. Most are
little more than sidewalk taco hawkers made permanent, with a
marginally expanded menu and some places for customers to sit.
But that dissuades few people, for they serve that kind of attractively
spicy, questionably healthy fare that everyone loves and a mother
will rarely make at home.
At one, a vertical skewer of thin-sliced, marinated pork is roasted
and charred in front of an open fire, readying it for a young man to
slice off in little bits, make into soft tacos al pastor, and splash with a
strident red-chile sauce, chopped onion and fresh coriander. Another
has a steaming table of well-seasoned shreds of pork or tender, gamy
goat or lamb to roll into soft tortillas and serve with chunky salsa
mexicana. At a different type of taqueria—one that has recently caught
the country’s attention—meat is grilled for the Northern-inspired
tacos al carbГіn: Everything from beef to sausage and little clay dishes
of bubbling cheese come off the charcoal broiler. The crowds seem
to love the relaxed, frontier flavor and they wash down plates of
tacos and bowls of cowboy beans with fruit-flavored aguas frescas,
soda pop and beer.
Out on the street, a butane-fired griddle lit up with a string of
Christmas lights might be searing beef, chorizo sausage and potatoes,
or strips of chile and onion to offer with a spoonful of picante green
sauce, some grilled knobby green onions, plus lime to squeeze over
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 33
it all. A young man just a few steps away could be roasting field
corn over a tub of coals or slicing fruit into paper cones. A women
could be fanning the charcoal-fired brazier that warms her steamer
of tamales or heats her griddle for baking masa turnovers. There might
be a boy with a little glass case of gelatines, flans and rice puddings…perhaps a basket of crisp-fried pork rinds or a tray of nuts
and candy. Still, all this variety only scratches the surface of what’s
found in the cubbyhole eateries and street-food stalls throughout
Mexico.
Not all taquerГ­as and street-food stalls are nocturnal or festal either.
Around schools and bus stations and along busy streets, they often
come out with the daylight to supply nourishment for the latemorning almuerzo. Some have come to think enough of themselves
to add a little breadth to their offerings and change their name to
loncheria (“lunch counter”), but most feature a distinct brand of soft
tacos: tacos de cazuelas. They’re put together from a variety of
shredded meats and diced vegetables that are simmered in casseroles
with homey, full-flavored sauces.
There is a final major strain of snack purveyors with a national
profile and a product that is as tasty (and certainly as satisfying) as
most anything in the snack repertory. Tortas are like Mexican-spirited
hoagies or submarine sandwiches, and in no way should they be
overlooked. At their best, they combine a crusty roll with fried beans,
meat or eggs, hot sauce and pickled chiles, keeping pace with the
most delicious quick meal.
THE MEXICAN COOKING
OF THIS BOOK
When I made my first trip into Mexico as a food researcher, it was
with the intent of collecting, exploring and verifying all the recipes
that later became my PBS television series, Cooking Mexican. I already
knew much of the country from college days studying Spanish literature and Latin American culture, and I had been developing cooking
classes out of my recollections from that period—plus a lot of book
research, cooking and eating. Graduate school had goaded me into
asking more questions than I could answer there in Ann Arbor,
Michigan, so I went off with a notebook and an embarrassingly small
budget to see what the Mexican people were eating.
My natural inclination, wherever I am, is to look in the grocery
stores (or their cultural equivalent) to see what the cooks have to
34 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
start with. The Mexican market, though, offered me more than raw
ingredients; there were prepared-food stalls, too, and the marketplace
was surrounded by street-food vendors and small restaurants serving
traditional fare. It was really more than just a marketplace: It was a
complex system of public buying and selling, of public cooking and
eating. Public food, well-loved food that a community had set out
as its own.
In those early travels, I discovered that the dishes and menus I
came across didn’t always match what can be found in Mexican
cookbooks in our country. Many writers, it seems, had passed over
the deliciously honest, easy-to-find preparations, and they’d missed
the Mexican presence that makes the dishes magnetic. Still others
had come to their Mexican cooking with American (or even French)
techniques, rendering their translations of Mexican traditions
somewhat unrecognizable.
So I decided to pull together into a single volume the readily
available specialties I’d found all over Mexico, with all the necessary
details on where and when to find them, and how to authentically
prepare them back home. Before I knew it, I was waist-high in
notebooks filled with sample menus from everyday eating places,
my lists cataloguing markets in dozens of towns, recipes, photographs, histories and botanical information. I had my diaries of every
day, every meal and snack I’d eaten, through the land and back
again. Over the last eight years of research, my wife and I have
logged literally tens of thousands of miles through Mexico, much
of it by bus; we’ve visited dozens of towns and met hundreds of
people. And all along, my goal has remained the same: to explore
and chart the breadth of the traditional cooking that lay before me.
Because this is the food of the people, its preparation is not as regimented, sanitized and codified as the haute cuisine of professional
chefs. The recipes for traditional Mexican fare are more fluid and
variable, made of measurements like un poquito (“a little”) and
bastante (“enough”)—the right amounts to suit your taste, of course,
and the powers of your purse. And frequently the making of these
general recipes follows a cycle of variations, through all the seasonal
changes. But there are always boundaries; there is always the strong
force of tradition to guide the cook.
Most visitors would be surprised at the high quality of goods and
preparations in markets, small restaurants and street stalls; a good
number of the tradition-trained cooks in these places have remarkable talent. Some of the everyday fare, though, can be plain, so I’ve
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 35
occasionally worked into the dishes nicer touches I’ve learned from
the growing number of dressier traditional restaurants and from the
dozens and dozens of regional cookbooks that are printed throughout
Mexico. In all but the most common standard preparations, I’ve
given credit to my sources. Anything that has been changed—ingredients or methods—is always clearly denoted.
As is appropriate for the flexible, traditional Mexican dishes, I
have written detailed but concise master recipes for classic preparations, then accompanied them with capsulized suggestions for Traditional Variations. I’ve used the Cook’s Notes to explain unusual
or alternative techniques, to discuss special equipment and to give
the details of critical or unfamiliar ingredients. (Additional ingredients, preparation and equipment information is in the illustrated
Glossary in the back of the book.) Along with many recipes, I’ve
included my own ideas for using traditional preparations in nontraditional ways—Contemporary Ideas I call them, because they were
developed with an eye toward the contemporary North American
table. By spelling out these nontraditional ideas, I am in no way indicating that the traditional Mexican dishes aren’t perfectly delicious,
even preferable; rather, my goal is to show that you can keep the
spirit of the Mexican originals while utilizing ingredients or techniques that are popular in the United States. My approach is different
from the one adopted by many chefs of the “new” Southwestern
cooking, who utilize Mexican ingredients in classical/European
preparations; I always start from the classic Mexican sauces and
preparations, and I never let myself roam too far away.
I’m sure that there are numerous specialties that I didn’t come
across, having been either in the wrong place or in the right place
at the wrong time; probably there are dishes that I glanced right
past, even though they were in my path. There are recipes for dozens
of traditional classics that ultimately had to be left out, simply due
to lack of space. For all of those regional specialties I haven’t even
mentioned, I apologize to the Mexicans who claim them as their
own.
Though Authentic Mexican presents the public image of Mexican
cuisine, when the last word is written and the final recipe meets
approval, it is Mexican cuisine through Bayless eyes, and the pages
are filled with my personal adventure, my private exploration. After
many years, I have come to appreciate Mexican cooking on its own
terms, with all its beautiful ingenuity and brilliant flavor and texture.
It has broadened my culinary horizons in ways I never expected;
36 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
it’s brought me to a deeper respect for the beauty of human nourishment than I could have otherwise hoped for. I wish the same for
each person who explores these pages.
SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS
Salsas y Encurtidos
Tomatoes, chiles, garlic and onions—they make up the flavor
framework around which much of Mexico’s culinary accomplishments are built. The four can be found pure—ripe and raw and
chopped together in the nationally beloved, relishlike salsa mexicana.
It’s the perfect table sauce (condiment) for tacos and other antojitos
38 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
(“snacks”). Even when the tomatoes have been half-boiled or roasted,
the coarse sauce you can make from them retains a typical engaging
freshness.
Those four primary ingredients may be taken a step further:
ground into a rough puree, then fried in hot fat. That’s when their
utility dramatically increases. As the mixture sits thick in its skillet,
cooks can give it their regional additions, then use it to add sweetness, tartness and depth to an infinite number of dishes. A little broth
may be necessary to make it the sauce for enchiladas or huevos
rancheros, or for setting out in a salsera dish. And enough liquid to
send it beyond the limits of a spoonable sauce yields the delicious,
tomatoey caldo (“broth”) that frequently comes along with meatballs
or chiles rellenos.
There is a parallel collection of definitively Mexican salsas verdes
(“green sauces”), turned out in like fashion and utilized with the
same intent. But, with the small, verdant tomatillos replacing the redfleshed tomatoes, the sauces take on an attractive tartness that gives
them special distinction.
Chiles—and preparations made thick with them—define the remaining major faction of Mexican sauces. Most are not the explosive,
pure-green or crimson chile purees that many of the uninitiated fear.
Rather, they start with the milder pods that have ripened and dried
before they’re stewed with meat into adobo, pipián or mole. The hotter
dried ones may be ground with tomatoes or tomatillos to help mitigate
against the burning capcaicin that is concentrated in the chile veins;
then they’re balanced with garlic, herbs and spices before they’re
set out. But, when you see that lone red-chile sauce on the table…no
doubt it will be one that bears a certain power in its taste, adding
momentary unbridled strength to whatever it is drizzled on.
From earliest record, Mexican food has been a tapestry of color,
texture and flavor…lots of flavor. It is punctuated with picante chiles,
liberally enriched with condiments, enlivened with a sprinkling of
lime, vinegary pickled peppers, vegetables, onions, even tangy, salty
crumbled fresh cheese. But the multitude of Mexican table sauces
are one of its true glories in my opinion. They go in or on just about
anything, from rice and simply prepared meat or fish, to soup and,
of course, all the beautifully Mexican antojitos. If your experience
with hot sauces has been limited to Tabasco or bottled taco sauce,
the traditional collection of salsas that follows will vigorously broaden
your horizons.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 39
Regional Explorations
The chile-based sauces made for use as condiments show the
greatest regional affiliations: In western Mexico and parts of the
North, it’s frequently a simple sauce of pureed, boiled, very hot chiles
de ГЎrbol; in the same areas, bottled hot red-chile sauce contains a
good amount of preserving vinegar; in YucatГЎn, they bottle vinegary
orange-red or green sauces made with the local habanero chiles; also,
in the same area, they simply grind the fresh chiles—straight—with
a little salt and lime juice; in Guadalajara, they turn the chiles de ГЎrbol
into a thick, tart sauce by pureeing them with tomatillos; in Oaxaca,
they use tomatillos, too, but the chile is a local, smoky chile pasilla; in
Central Mexico, the common black chile pasilla becomes a special
borracha sauce made with pulque and served with lamb barbacoa; also
in Central Mexico, tomatoes figure in red-chile sauces made fiery
with hot guajillos or smoky chipotles.
FRESH TOMATO-CHILE
RELISH
Salsa Mexicana
The…salsa mexicana that is offered on all the tables
of fondas and popular restaurants is a delight of absolute simplicity…. With
it one can season all that is seasonable.
—PACO IGNACIO TAIBO I, Breviario del mole
poblano [author’s translation]
All over this temperate country, which year-round offers crimsonorange tomatoes with good flavor, a salsa mexicana made from ripe
tomatoes is a traditional condiment put on tables in taquerГ­as and
cafeterГ­as, bus stations and homey dining rooms.
I’ve never been keen on tomatoes that fall short of that, like the
common, mealy store-bought ones. But when the red fruit is full of
perfume, salsa mexicana comes across with the balanced strength of
sweet tomato, hot green chiles, crunchy onion and aromatic fresh
coriander—flavors at the heart of the Mexican kitchen.
This definitive, relishy sauce is available in every region of Mexico,
with a texture that ranges from a beautiful coarse puree to an unhappy collection of grape-size pieces. The Yucatecan name for the
40 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
mixture is xnipec (which means, rather picturesquely, “nose of the
dog”—see variation recipe); in the rest of Mexico, it can be salsa
cruda, salsa fresca, salsa, chile, you name it; and in Texas, you get it
when you ask for pico de gallo (literally “rooster’s beak”), which
would get you something entirely different in West Central Mexico.
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
1 ripe, large tomato
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 chiles serranos or 2
chiles jalapeГ±os), stemmed
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
8 to 10 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Chopping the ingredients. Core the tomato, then optionally seed
it by cutting across the width and squeezing out the seeds and liquid.
Chop it very finely (so that no pieces are larger than 1/16 inch) and
scoop into a small bowl. If you want a milder sauce, seed the chiles,
then chop very finely and add to the tomatoes. Finely chop the onion
and garlic and add to the bowl along with the coriander.
2. Seasoning the sauce. Stir in the salt, vinegar (or lime juice) and 1
tablespoon water, then let the flavors mingle for ВЅ hour or so before
serving.
Earthenware condiment dish, magathГЎn
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 41
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Chopping: A sharp knife will give you small pieces that retain their
juice. A food processor or blender leaves good ingredients battered
and frothed. Remember, the finer the dice, the more the flavors sing
in harmony.
Ingredients
Tomatoes: An aromatic, ripe, red tomato makes the best impact here.
In summer I look for vine-ripened round tomatoes, but in the winter
I usually get pear-shaped ones because they’re often riper (though a
little pulpy), or cherry tomatoes, which I ripen on the windowsill and
then seed.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow 10 to 15 minutes to put the sauce together and a few minutes
to let it season. It’s at its best for an hour or two, after which the crunch
goes out and the onion grows in potency.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Xnipec: Prepare the sauce as directed, replacing the white onion with
red, omitting the garlic (and coriander, if you wish), and replacing the
vinegar and water with 2 or 3 tablespoons bitter orange juice, lime
juice or vinegar. Generally, the texture of this mixture is coarser and
the chile used is habanero (which, as far as I know, is not sold
commercially in the United States). Another version of this Yucatecan
sauce adds finely chopped cabbage and radish to the mixture.
FRESH GREEN
TOMATILLO SAUCE
Salsa Verde Cruda
This green tomatillo version of the table salsa mexicana seems even
more commonplace in Mexico’s snack parlors and street stalls than
the red tomato one—partly, I suspect, because the cooked tomatillos
make it more a sauce than a relish, and because it has a tasty puckeriness that deliciously heightens the flavor of whatever it goes on.
The sauce is frequently within easy reach in cafeterГ­as, too, paired
with a hot Red-Chile Sauce or Salsa Picante. They all get sprinkled
42 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
on or stirred in, like the salt and pepper on our tables. This fresh
green tomatillo sauce is a particular favorite in Central Mexico.
YIELD:
about 1 ВЅ cups
8 ounces (5 or 6 medium) fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
OR one 13-ounce can tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed
5 or 6 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
ВЅ small onion, chopped
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The tomatillos. Boil fresh tomatillos in salted water to cover until
barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes; drain. Canned tomatillos only need to
be drained.
2. The puree. Place the tomatillos in a blender or food processor. If
you want a milder sauce, seed the chile(s), then chop into small bits
and add to the tomatillos along with the coriander and chopped
onion; if using a blender, stir well. Blend or process to a coarse puree.
3. Finishing the sauce. Scrape into a sauce dish, thin to a mediumthick consistency with about Вј cup water, then season with salt. Let
stand for about ВЅ hour before serving, for the flavors to blend.
Tomatillos
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 43
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Tomatillos: If there is a choice, fresh tomatillos give this sauce a livelier
flavor and color.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The sauce goes together in 15 or 20 minutes. It’s best eaten within 2
hours because the onion can get strong. It may need additional thinning
(or even reblending) if it has set up (from the pectin in the tomatillos).
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Chunky Tomatillo Sauce: Prepare the sauce as described, finely
chopping the chile, onion and coriander, then adding them to the
blended tomatillos. If the chopped onion is rinsed, the sauce will sour
less quickly. All-Raw Tomatillo Relish: Prepare the sauce with
chopped raw tomatillos, adding Вј cup water before blending. Taste
for salt and stir in additional water, if needed.
RED-CHILE SAUCE
WITH ROASTED TOMATO
Salsa Roja
If the flavors of this picante red-chile sauce are well blended, the heat
will have been rounded out with a little softening tomato flavor and
balanced with a burst of roasted garlic. I’ve come across carelessly
made versions that varied from riveting to impotent to heart-burning.
But if you follow the directions laid out here, you’ll turn out a traditionally spirited table sauce that is an unsurpassed condiment for
mouthfuls of charcoal-broiled steak.
Simple red-chile sauces are in the repertory of cooks all over
Mexico (save YucatГЎn, I believe) and they are commonly made with
the very hot chiles de ГЎrbol and softened with tomatillo or mellowed
with vinegar. This is a version I learned from two infectiously
friendly antojito makers in Toluca, and I love it.
YIELD:
1 generous cup
44 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
4 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles guajillos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted, peeled, cored and roughly
chopped
ВЅ canned chile chipotle, seeded (optional)
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The chiles and garlic. Tear the guajillo chiles into flat pieces, then
toast them on a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, using a
metal spatula to press them flat to the hot surface for a few seconds,
then flipping and pressing again. You’ll notice a toasted look to each
side and perhaps a whiff of smoke when they’re ready, but don’t
burn them or they’ll taste bitter.
Lay the unpeeled garlic on the griddle and turn frequently until
soft and blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. Cool, peel off the skin
and cut in quarters.
2. Blending the ingredients. Break the chiles into a dry blender jar,
cover and blend on high until pulverized. Add the garlic, roasted
tomato, optional chile chipotle and Вј cup water, then blend until very
smooth.
3. Finishing the sauce. Strain the saurce through a medium-mesh
sieve into a small dish, then stir in a little more water, if necessary,
to make a light, pourable consistency. Season with salt and let stand
for ВЅ hour to let the flavors mingle.
Earthenware sauce dish (salsera), michoacГЎn
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 45
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Balancing the Flavors: To reach the right equilibrium, choose and
prepare each ingredient with care: boiled or canned tomatoes make
the sauce watery; raw garlic is overpowering here; untoasted chiles
lack depth. Even though the chile chipotle makes the sauce more picante,
I like its deep, smoky richness.
Ingredients
Chiles Guajillos: Three large New Mexico or California chile pods
could replace the guajillos, though they’re not as sharply flavored; so
you may want to add some crushed red-pepper flakes or cayenne.
Timing and Advance Preparation
You can put the sauce together in ВЅ hour, but it needs to stand for a
little while before serving. Covered and refrigerated, it keeps for 3 or
4 days; warm to room temperature before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Chile de Árbol Sauce, Baja California—Style: Stem 15 or 16 large
chiles de ГЎrbol (known there as picos de pГЎjaro), shake out most of the
seeds, boil in salted water with the garlic and a slice of onion for 10
minutes. Drain and puree with the tomato and Вј cup water; strain.
Thin with water to a light consistency and season with salt. This is a
hot sauce and is frequently made hotter by omitting the tomato and
blending with 1/3 cup water.
Chipotle Chile Sauce, Veracruz- or Puebla-Style: Prepare the recipe
as directed, substituting 2 or 3 canned chiles chipotles (seeded) for the
guajillos. Don’t toast or pulverize the chiles prior to blending with the
tomato.
CHIPOTLE CHILE SAUCE
Salsa de Chiles Chipotles
This is a simple, smoky hot table sauce that is delicious with grilled
meats. Made from the smoke-dried jalapeГ±os they call chipotles (from
Nahuatl for “smoked chile”), it is an exceptional composite of flavors—though one that doesn’t show up in such a pure form much
in Mexico. Instead, the sauce that most frequently enlivens tacos
46 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
seems to combine the cook’s two or three favorite dried chiles, one
of which is almost sure to be a chipotle. So try it this way, then move
on to your own combinations.
YIELD:
about Вѕ cup
3 medium (about 4ВЅ ounces total) fresh tomatillos, husked
and washed
2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 canned chiles chipotles, seeded
Salt, about Вј teaspoon
1. Roasting the tomatillos and garlic. Lay a square of aluminum foil
on a griddle or skillet set over medium heat; set the tomatillos on top
and turn regularly until soft and blackened in spots, about 10
minutes. While the tomatillos are roasting, toast the garlic on an uncovered spot on the griddle or skillet, turning frequently until soft,
about 15 minutes; cool, slip off the skin and chop.
2. Finishing the sauce. Place the tomatillos, garlic, chipotles and 2 tablespoons water in a blender jar or food processor and puree. Scrape
into a sauce dish, season with salt and stir in a little more water to
give it a light, saucy consistency. If a smokier flavor is desired, stir
in a teaspoon or two of the sauce from the canned chiles chipotles.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 47
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Tomatillos: Fresh can be replaced with 3 or 4 canned tomatillos, though
they won’t have a roasted flavor.
Chiles Chipotles: Without them, there’s no chipotle sauce. If only the
tan-colored dried ones are available, toast them until slightly darkened
and aromatic, then stem, seed and soak until soft. A small, dark,
smoky-smelling, red-brown chile usually sold as mora (except in Puebla
and Veracruz, where it, too, is called chipotle) can also replace the
canned chipotles; in fact, these are often what are sold in the can as
chipotles.
Timing and Advance Preparation
You’ll need 20 minutes to prepare the sauce and a few minutes to let
it season. Covered and refrigerated, it lasts 3 days or more; warm to
room temperature before serving.
Regional Explorations
Chipotle sauce in Puebla and Veracruz is often made with tomato rather
than tomatillo. And in Oaxaca, the smoky chile pasilla oaxaqueno performs
solo in the sauce, without other chiles to mask its flavor.
CHILE DE ГЃRBOL HOT
SAUCE
Salsa Picante de Chile de ГЃrbol
It stands in corked liter liquor bottles in markets through WestCentral and Northern Mexico, waiting to be taken home to sprinkle
on tacos, tostadas or the lot of other snacks, or to dash into White
Pozole, Menudo or any other soup. It lasts indefinitely, unlike the
uncooked vegetable-chile blends that also go on the table; it’s the
closest you’ll get to Tabasco sauce—and it is a lot better.
YIELD:
about 1Вѕ cups
1Вј ounces (about 50 to 60 mixed-size) dried chiles de ГЎrbol
1ВЅ tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons shelled pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
48 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Вј teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous Вј teaspoon ground)
4 large allspice berries (or about 1/8 teaspoon ground)
2 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 scant teaspoon salt
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Вѕ cup cider vinegar
1. The chiles and seeds. Stem the chiles, then roll them between your
thumb and fingers, pressing gently to loosen the seeds inside. Break
in half, shake out as many seeds as possible, then place in a blender
jar.
Heat an ungreased skillet over medium-low. Measure in the sesame seeds and stir for several minutes as they brown and pop; scoop
into the blender jar. Add the pumpkinseeds to the skillet. When the
first one pops, stir constantly for several minutes, until all are golden
and have popped up into a round shape.
2. Blending the sauce. Pulverize the cumin, allspice and cloves in a
mortar or spice grinder, then add to the blender jar along with the
oregano, salt, garlic and vinegar. Blend for several minutes, until
the mixture is orange-red and feels quite smooth when a drop is
rubbed between your fingers.
3. Straining and ripening the sauce. Strain through a medium-mesh
sieve, working the solids back and forth and pressing them firmly;
there will be a fair amount of chile seeds, skins, sesame hulls and
other debris to discard, but be careful that there is nothing liquid
trapped within them.
Stir in Вѕ cup water, then pour into a bottle, cover and let stand
for 24 hours before serving.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 49
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles de Árbol: They’re available in most Mexican markets. But if
you can’t find them, a good sauce can be made with any small, dried
hot pepper, like the Mexican chiles japoneses or the common little ones
frequently labeled just “chile peppers” in the grocery store. For a
milder hot sauce, replace ВЅ ounce of the chiles de ГЎrbol with 2
chiles guajillos or 1 large California or New Mexico chile.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparing the sauce takes about 30 minutes. Stored in the refrigerator,
it will last indefinitely—even getting better after several weeks. Or
pour it into sterilized canning jars, seal and process in a water bath;
store indefinitely at room temperature.
Regional Explorations
The labels on commercially made bottled hot sauce in Mexico
commonly list chile de ГЎrbol as well as the thin, piquant guajillo called
pulla, plus, of course, vinegar and spices. In the small west-coast state
of Nayarit, a bottle of locally made liquid fire plainly listed sesame
seeds and pumpkin-seeds among the ingredients; I have added them
to my simple well-flavored standard and it makes the best sauce I’ve
had.
QUICK-COOKED
TOMATO-CHILE SAUCE
Salsa Cocida de Jitomate
…tomatl, “certain fruit that serves as a tangy liquid
in the stews or sauces”; “tomahua, to get fat or
grow…”; “tomahuac, something fat, thick,
corpulent”; “tomahuacayotl (condition or quality of tomato),
fatness, corpulence”…
—SALVADOR NOVO, quoting Molina’s Nahuatl dictionary
in Cocina mexicana [author’s translation]
Many gastronomical commentators have singled out the tomato as
Mexico’s most useful contribution to world cookery…even in light
50 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
of her chiles and chocolate. Tomatoes do, after all, have that fresh
tangy sweetness and an ability to cook into a soft-textured mass that
offers relief from those old-fashioned glutinous soups and sauces.
The cooks of Mexico’s distinct regions boil and roast and fry huge
quantities of this fruit-of-the-groping-vine into all sorts of delicious
variations on this simple sauce, ones that their people have come to
identify as their own. For the basic recipe below, I have culled out
a kind of fence-straddling version that works as well to spark up
Huevos Rancheros and Mexican Rice as it does for saucing Chiles Rellenos or Quick-Simmered Tortilla Casserole (Chilaquiles) or for
spooning onto tacos.
YIELD:
about 2 cups
1ВЅ pounds (3 medium-large round, 9 to 10 pear-shaped) ripe
tomatoes, boiled or roasted, peeled and cored
OR one 28-ounce can good-quality tomatoes, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 to 5 chiles serranos
or 2 to 3 chiles jalapeГ±os), stemmed
ВЅ small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The tomatoes. For a more refined sauce, seed the tomatoes: Cut
them in half across the middle and squeeze out the seeds and liquid.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a blender or food processor.
2. The puree. If you want a milder sauce, first seed the chiles. Then
chop them into small bits and add to the blender or processor, along
with the onion and garlic. If using a blender, stir to distribute the
ingredients evenly, then process the mixture until pureed (but still
retaining a little texture).
3. Frying the sauce. Heat the lard or oil in a medium-large skillet
over medium-high. When it is hot enough to make a drop of the
puree really sizzle, add it all at once and stir constantly for about 5
minutes, as the puree sears and cooks into a thicker, more orangecolored sauce. Season with salt and remove from the fire.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 51
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Blender Tricks:
Ingredients
Tomatoes: I prefer to make the sauce with pear-shaped tomatoes to
give it more consistency.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The sauce takes 20 to 30 minutes. Covered and refrigerated, it keeps
for 4 or 5 days.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Smooth Tomato-Chile Sauce: When this sauce is the base for a brothier
one, the ingredients are thoroughly pureed.
Rustic Tomato-Chile Sauce: Thinly slice ВЅ medium onion and fry in
1ВЅ tablespoons lard or oil until lightly browned. Add 1 clove garlic
(minced) and hot green chiles to taste (seeded and chopped). Raise
the heat under the skillet to medium-high, add the tomatoes (coarsely
pureed) and stir as the mixture fries and thickens. Season with salt.
This version is good with the addition of 2 poblano or 3 long green
chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped).
Yucatecan Tomato Sauce: Blend the tomatoes until smooth, then strain.
Fry ВЅ medium onion (chopped) in 1ВЅ tablespoons lard or oil over
medium heat. Add the tomato, 3 hot green chiles (only a slit cut in the
side), 1 tablespoon bitter orange juice or lime juice, and 1 sprig epazote
(if available); simmer 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove the
epazote and chile before serving.
Regional Explorations
Variations using local chiles (both fresh and dried), available herbs
and different cooking methods produce sauces of numerous flavors
and consistencies, making strong regional generalizations difficult. A
few spots, however, are known for distinctive cooked tomato-chile
sauce: In Guadalajara, it’s simple, smooth and popular on tacos and
the like. Yucatecan cooks make it smooth, too (they often call it
chiltomate), but with a frequent addition of epazote, bitter orange juice
and the hot little habanero chiles; there, they’re also fond of a really
chunky sauce with onions and roasted light-skinned
chiles xcatiques. Epazote figures prominently in the medium-consistency
52 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
tomato sauce in Oaxaca. And the Veracruz variety sometimes has the
smoky overtone of chipotle peppers.
QUICK-COOKED
TOMATILLO-CHILE SAUCE
Salsa Verde
This everyday Mexican salsa verde is green from a delicious native
berry (tomatillo) that frequently bears the name of its very distant
relation the tomato. The walnut-size fruit in the papery husk makes
a traditional sauce with an especially fresh, tart taste.
Mexican salsa verde is prepared by cooks in most of the Republic.
Some of them will put it on the table for diners to add al gusto, or
they’ll use it for Chicken Enchiladas, or they’ll simmer it with tortillas
to make Chilaquiles. It’s always put together in the same general way,
though some like to add a big sprig of epazote while the sauce is
cooking.
YIELD:
2ВЅ to 3 cups
1 pound (11 medium) fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
OR two 13-ounce cans tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 chiles serranos or 2
chiles jalapeГ±os), stemmed
5 or 6 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
2 cups any poultry or meat broth (depending on how the sauce
is to be used)
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
1. The tomatillos. Boil the fresh tomatillos and chiles in salted water
to cover until tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain. Simply drain canned
tomatillos.
2. The puree. Place the tomatillos and chiles (raw ones if using
canned tomatillos) in a blender or food processor, along with the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 53
coriander, onion and garlic; if using a blender, stir well. Process
until smooth, but still retaining a little texture.
3. The sauce. Heat the lard or vegetable oil in a medium-large
skillet set over medium-high. When hot enough to make a drop of
the puree sizzle sharply, pour it in all at once and stir constantly for
4 or 5 minutes, until darker and thicker. Add the broth, let return to
a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thick enough
to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Blender Tricks: In blending ingredients of such different consistencies
to an even-textured puree, make sure that (1) harder items are chopped
before blending, (2) the mixture is well stirred before blending, and
(3) the blender is first pulsed, then turned on low. Blending should
never take more than about 20 seconds.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The sauce can be made in ВЅ hour. It keeps, covered and refrigerated,
up to 4 days.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Herby Tomatillo Sauce: Puree the drained tomatillos, 1 large
chile poblano (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped), 3 cloves garlic
(roasted and peeled) and 10 large leaves fresh basil. Fry and simmer
as directed in Step 2. For a more Mexican balance of flavors, replace
ВЅ the basil with a few leaves of epazote (or mint) and sprigs of fresh
coriander.
Kitchen Spanish
In Mexico, the tomatillo may be called anything from tomate, to
tomate verde, miltomate, or tomate de cáscara (“husk tomato”), not to
mention fresadilla in the northeast and tomatillo in the northwest.
54 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Chunky Guacamole
GUACAMOLE
Clearly, guacamole is the work of perfect art, the legitimate employ of the three Aztec elements that make it up: avocado, tomato
and chile.
—SALVADOR NOVO, Cocina mexicana [author’s translation]
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 55
The soft, ripe avocado, besides being the most unctuous and perhaps
most addicting of the native fruits, enjoys a reputation beyond the
mixing bowl and crispy corn chip. Its buttery, yellow-olive
pulp—whose original Nahuatl name describes the fruit like a plump
lamb fry—is said to affect the siring prowess of some men, the temper
and quarrelsomeness of others.
The first unadorned bite of perfectly ripe, small, wild avocado
spreads over the tongue a comforting texture like custard and a
drab-green flavor that hints at strong herbs like bay, thyme and
fennel. The tree is part of the laurel family, and its leaves serve flavoring purposes in many Mexicans’ cooking.
Even when the wonderfully flavored wild avocados aren’t to be
had (and the flavor of cultivated avocados is not always as good), I
contend that the best way to serve the smooth flesh is barely mashed
with a sprinkling of salt, a few pinches of biting onion and hot green
chile…plus the extra touch of garlic, tomato and fresh coriander, if
you feel so inclined. That makes the nationally embraced, traditional
concoction that fills tortillas or gets scooped up by thick forkfuls.
The second of the guacamole recipes included here serves a function
different from that of the more relishy, saladlike, common variety.
When blended with tomatillos, the avocados become more of a smooth
green sauce for tacos and other appetizers, with a rich but refreshing
edge and, incidentally, very good keeping qualities.
CHUNKY GUACAMOLE
(AVOCADO RELISH)
Guacamole Picado
YIELD:
about 3 cups, serving 6 as an appetizer, 12 to 15 as a dip
ВЅ small onion, very finely chopped
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, cored and very finely chopped
(optional)
1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely chopped (optional)
10 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped (optional)
3 ripe, medium avocados
56 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
ВЅ lime, juiced (optional)
Additional chopped onion and fresh coriander, radish slices
or roses, and/or a little crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other
fresh cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese, for garnish
1. The preliminaries. In a medium-size bowl, mix the finely chopped
onion and chiles with the optional tomato, garlic and coriander.
2. The avocado. Close to the time you are going to serve, halve the
avocados lengthwise by cutting from the stem to flower ends, around
the pits. Twist the avocado halves in opposite directions to loosen
the meat from the pits, then scoop out the pits and reserve. Scrape
the avocado pulp from the skins and add it to the bowl.
3. Finishing the guacamole. Using your hand or a spoon, roughly
mash the avocado while mixing in the other ingredients, making a
coarse, thick mass. Flavor with salt, then enough lime juice to add
a little zing, if you wish. Return the pits to the guacamole and cover
with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the
mixture. Set aside for a few minutes to let the flavors blend.
4. Garnish and presentation. The guacamole is very attractive in a
pottery bowl or Mexican mortar, sprinkled with chopped onion,
coriander, radish slices and crumbled fresh cheese; radish roses
really dress it up.
glass avocado
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 57
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Flavoring Guacamole: In order to accommodate any avocados you
might come up with, I’ve written a loose recipe. Some of the blander
fruits will need a little garlic and/or lime juice—even a drizzling of
good olive oil—to make a tasty guacamole.
Ingredients
Avocados: For notes on varieties, choosing and ripening.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow 20 to 30 minutes to make the guacamole and, for best results,
plan to serve it within an hour. The lime juice helps to slow down the
notorious avocado darkening, but not much; Fruit-Fresh and other
antioxidants leave a tell-tale taste behind. So choose a slow-browning
variety like Hass, return the pits to the guacamole (they retard
darkening), and cover it with plastic wrap pressed directly on the
surface to keep out oxidizing air; after a while, you may need to scrape
off the thin dark layer that forms across the surface.
GUACAMOLE WITH
TOMATILLOS
Guacamole de Tomate Verde
YIELD:
about 2 cups
8 ounces (5 or 6 medium) fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
OR one 13-ounce can tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
ВЅ small onion, roughly chopped
1 ripe, medium-large avocado
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The tomatillos. Boil the fresh tomatillos in salted water to cover
until just soft through, about 10 minutes; drain and place in a blender
jar or food processor. Canned tomatillos need only be drained and
put in the blender or food processor.
58 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
2. The puree. Add the chile, coriander and onion to the tomatillos
(and stir, if using a blender). Blend or process to a coarse puree.
3. The avocado. Halve the avocado lengthwise by cutting from stem
to flower ends around the pit. Twist the halves apart, then scoop
out the pit and reserve it. Scrape the avocado pulp from the skin
and place in a mixing bowl.
4. Finishing the sauce. Mash the avocado until smooth, using a fork
or your hand. Scrape in the tomatillo puree and mix well. Season
with salt, return the pit to the sauce and cover well. Let stand a few
minutes to blend the flavors, then serve.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Blender Tricks: Finishing the Sauce: When I want a really smooth
consistency, I add the avocado pulp to the blender or food processor
after pureeing the tomatillo mixture; then I pulse it a number of times
to combine the two.
Timing and Advance Preparation
This guacamole takes about 20 minutes to prepare and, because of the
acid in the tomatillos, will keep well without browning; but while the
looks may stay, the flavor diminishes after a couple of hours.
Regional Explorations
Even in Mexico, avocados can be expensive; add that to their difficult
keeping qualities and it’s no wonder they’re not part of the everyday
street food. A few slices are commonly put on tortas and sometimes
tacos, and the more ambitious street or market vendors will make up
a smooth, diluted guacamole (like the one with tomatillos) to offer their
clientele. But a good guacamole is really in the domain of the
restaurants or cafeterías…or at least a fancy taco shop.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 59
Relishy Cactus-Paddle Salad
RELISHY CACTUS-PADDLE SALAD
Ensalada de Nopalitos
In spite of its being called a salad, this cactus-paddle preparation is
actually used more like a condiment—like a coarse salsa mexicana
mixed with pieces of cactus. It’s very popular in the fondas of some
60 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
markets (certainly a lot more popular than you’d expect any salad
to be in Mexico).
While Mexicans love condiments and garnishes and adornment,
North Americans are fond of salads. So that is how most of you will
probably be happiest serving it. I think you’ll find the firm texture
and pleasantly green flavor of the cactus right for this colorful vinegar-and-oil treatment, as would be green beans, say, or asparagus.
YIELD:
4 servings
4 medium (12 to 14 ounces total) fresh cactus paddles (nopales
or nopalitos)
OR one 12- to 15-ounce jar cactus pieces, drained and well
rinsed
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, cored and diced
Вј cup diced onion
6 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (or a mixture of the two)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
A big pinch of dried oregano
Salt, about 1/8 teaspoon
For completing and garnishing the dish:
Several romaine lettuce leaves
3 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso fresco, or other fresh
cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
Several pickled chiles jalapeГ±os, store-bought or homemade
Several radish slices or roses
1. The cactus. Prepare the fresh cactus according to the directions.
2. Assembling the salad. Shortly before serving, thoroughly rinse
and drain the boiled or canned (but not the roasted) cactus, then mix
with the tomato, onion and coriander. Blend together the dressing
ingredients by thoroughly whisking or by shaking in a tightly closed
jar; taste for salt, then pour over the vegetables and toss to combine.
3. Garnish and presentation. Line a decorative platter with the lettuce
leaves and heap up the cactus salad in the center. Sprinkle with
cheese, arrange the pickled chiles and radishes over the top and
serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 61
Cactus paddles (nopales)
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Cactus: For notes on where to find and how to treat the succulent
paddles.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With prepared cactus paddles on hand, the salad goes together in 15
minutes or so. It is best when served within a few minutes of being
dressed.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
A Cactus Salad from Puebla: Prepare the preceding recipe, substituting
5 to 7 ounces of steamed green beans (ends snipped) for ВЅ of the cactus
and 1/3 cup grated mozzarella (they use a string cheese) for the fresh
cheese. Garnish with diced avocado. This salad is frequently made
with several teaspoons chopped fresh oregano.
Regional Explorations
Cactus paddles fixed in one way or another are popular in Central
and West-Central Mexico. Salady mixtures of the nopal reach a pinnacle
in Toluca, where one is made with a light chile guajillo sauce and fried
onions, one with serrano chiles and carrots, and one with the standard
mix of onions, tomatoes, cheese, radish and fresh coriander; the latter
usually has no dressing.
PICKLED CHILES WITH
62 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
OTHER VEGETABLES
Chiles en Escabeche
When you taste a pickled chile from the glass barrels in QuerГ©taro,
Aguascalientes or San Luis PotosГ­, or from the beautiful bottled
mixtures in Toluca or San CristГіbal de las Cases, Chiapas, the flavor
seems so much more lively than the canned pickled jalapeГ±os that
fill our grocery-store shelves. No doubt it’s because the Mexican
ones are often made with homemade fruit vinegar and the chiles
include a wide variety of sizes and colors.
For the Central Mexican recipe outlined here, the onions and carrots are first fried, then simmered with the chiles in the mild brine.
The same method can be used for making pickled vegetables, as
described in the variation recipe; the result is attractive and delicious
for a picnic or buffet table.
YIELD:
about 2 cups, depending on the chiles used
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium carrot, peeled
6 ounces fresh hot green chiles (40 to 50 chiles serranos or 12
large chiles jalapeГ±os)
ВЅ medium onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
ВЅ cup cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 scant teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as thyme, marjoram
and oregano)
4 black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. Frying the vegetables. In a medium-size skillet, heat the vegetable
oil over medium, add the whole garlic cloves and fry, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, until they are lightly browned; remove
and set aside. Add the carrot, chiles and onion, and fry, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Simmering the chiles. Add ВЅ cup water, the browned garlic, vinegar,
bay leaves, herbs, pepper and salt. Cover and simmer over mediumlow heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the carrot is barely tender and the
chiles are olive-green. Remove from the fire, pour into a noncorrosive
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 63
container, cool and season with additional salt, if necessary. Cover
and refrigerate for a day before using.
Fresh jalapeГ±o and serrano chiles
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Making Hurry-Up Pickled Chiles: To use the chiles the day they’re
made, make a slit in the side of each one (or seed and slice them) to
allow quicker penetration by the vinegar. The flavor, however, won’t
be as mellow.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start a day ahead. Preparation time is about 30 minutes. The chiles
will last several months in the refrigerator, if brine covers them.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Pickled Vegetables with Chiles: Prepare a double recipe as directed,
using 4 chiles (total) and Вј cup oil (total), then adding 3 cups raw
vegetables with the liquid: broccoli or cauliflower (stalk cut off, broken
into flowerets), green beans (ends snipped, broken into 2-inch pieces),
zucchini (ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces), jГ­cama (peeled and cut
into 1-inch cubes), or Г§actus paddles (cooked as directed and sliced in
Вј-inch strips). In Chiapas, they frequently bottle pickled vegetable
mixtures that include hearts of palm.
64 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
PICKLED RED ONIONS
Escabeche de Cebolla
I wouldn’t want a chicken-topped Panucho or a plate of Pork Pibil
unless I could have it topped with these sweet-and-sour, richly
spiced red onions. They are at practically every Yucatecan meal, and
I know Deann uses a Yucatecan dinner as an excuse to make a big
batch of them to have around for sandwiches and just about any
other snack. To summarize: They are delicious.
YIELD:
about 11/3 cups
1 small (6-ounce) red onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
Вј teaspoon black peppercorns
Вј teaspoon cumin seeds
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
Вј teaspoon salt
1
/3 cup cider vinegar
1. Parboiling the onion. Place the thinly sliced red onion in a
saucepan with salted water to cover, bring to a boil, time 1 minute,
then remove from the heat and drain.
2. The pickling. Coarsely grind the peppercorns and cumin in a
mortar or spice grinder, then add to the saucepan, along with the
remaining ingredients. Pour in just enough water to barely cover
the onions, bring to a boil over medium heat, time 3 minutes, then
remove from the heat and pour into a small, noncorrosive bowl. Let
stand several hours before using.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Blanching the Onions: This step removes some of the onion’s
harshness, leaving the finished pickled onions sweet and delicious.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The 15-minute onion preparation should be done several hours ahead.
Covered and refrigerated, the onions will last for weeks.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 65
HOMEMADE THICK
CREAM
Crema Espesa
It isn’t uncommon to see three or four buckets of cream in Central,
West-Central and Tabascan markets: from thin, sweet and fresh to
well ripened, thick and tangy. It’s all heavy cream—not the light,
low-butterfat “cream” that is cultured for sour cream here—so it
has a richer, glossier texture. And you can bet it’s not pasteurized,
because the process would have killed the natural bacteria that
preserves and thickens the riper cream.
To me, this thick, ripe cream (similar to the French crГЁme fraГ®che)
is one of the great pleasures of Mexican cooking—drizzled on FreshCorn Tamales, Butter-Fried Plantains, Quick-Simmered Tortilla
Casserole (Chilaquiles,) or simple fried tacos and such. Mixing a little
milk or cream into our commercial sour cream is a passable substitute
here, but nothing like the smoother, less acidic taste of this recipe.
YIELD:
about 1 cup
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons buttermilk
1. Preparing the cream. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, set
over low heat and stir just until the chill is off; do not heat above 100В°
(lukewarm). Stir in the buttermilk and pour into a glass jar.
2. Ripening the cream. Set the lid on the jar (but don’t tighten it)
and place in a warm (80–90°) spot. Let the cream culture and set for
12 to 24 hours, until noticeably thicker (perhaps almost set like yogurt
or sour cream). Stir gently, screw on the lid and refrigerate at least
4 hours to chill and complete the thickening.
66 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Painted gourd drinking cups, Oaxaca
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Culturing Cream: Don’t let the cream get too hot or the culture will
die and the cream will simply spoil. It’s true that any active culture
(yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk) can replace what was destroyed in
pasteurization. Buttermilk is my favorite thickening/souring culture,
however; it seems to work more slowly, giving the cream a chance to
develop a ripe flavor but not much acidity.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start a full day ahead (or longer, if the incubating spot is cool). The
cream will keep for 1ВЅ weeks or more, covered and refrigerated.
BASIC MEAT
PREPARATIONS,
FLAVORINGS AND BROTHS
Chorizos, Carnes Saladas, Caldos
y Recados
68 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
In order to have a ready supply of meat—or to keep it from spoiling
before the whole animal could be brought to the pot or pan—each
culture learned to salt, brine or smoke what it raised or hunted. Even
now, in the age of refrigerated preserving, we hang on to our cured
meats—simply because their tastes have given a familiar character
to our food.
Mexico never really went the smoking or brining routes. But longgrained slices of salted beef (cecina) are a staple, and fully dried beef
(carne seca) is a Northern specialty. It’s the chile, however, that preserves Mexican meat with more distinctiveness than any of the
world’s other approaches, in my opinion. Ground with vinegar and
smeared on thin-sliced pork (carne enchilada) or mixed with ground
pork (chorizo sausage), it flavors as it preserves.
Spaniards brought the know-how for raising pigs and making
chorizo, though the Mexican sausages have evolved into an independent life from their less spicy, smoked Spanish counterparts. Toluca
is the undisputed capital of Mexican chorizo making, both the typical
red and an unusual green variety; and they make blood sausages
and head cheese there—very good versions of the types popular
throughout the Republic. In the northwest, a lesser-known meat
preparation, chilorio, is a chile-seasoned shredded pork that is packed
with a good amount of fat to preserve it, like the French rillettes.
There is also a large variety of seasonings and sauce bases available
to Mexican cooks. Yucatecans cook by seasoning paste (recado) alone,
it often seems; many of their specialties rely on one of their three
seasoning pastes. In much of Mexico, pastes for different moles are
prominently displayed for buyers to dilute and simmer at home; in
Puebla, this approach reaches its zenith: There are dark, monolithic
masses of mole poblano, adobo, pipiГЎn, green mole and on and on.
In spite of the fact that pure, powdered dried chiles are widely
available, seasoned chile powder doesn’t play a part in traditional
Mexican cooking. In much of the YucatГЎn, however, where premixed
seasonings are a way of life, mixtures of herbs and spices for their
savory escabeches are frequently available. And in eastern Oaxaca
and Chiapas, expensive tablets of preground, brick-red achiote seeds
are judiciously portioned out into rice and sauce mixtures to give
them that beautiful hue.
While making preservable mole pastes may not seem all that
practical at home, chorizo is quite simple and will be better than most
anything you can buy. Chile marinade (adobo) for seasoning meat is
little work, it keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator and it is useful in
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 69
putting together quick meals with an authentic taste. And the Yucatecan seasoning pastes are easy—and essential—for most Yucatecan dishes. Recipes for all of them are here, plus a few broths
you’ll need along the way.
CHORIZO: THE FAMOUS
MEXICAN SAUSAGE
…anyone who has seen the grubby [pigs] from the Hot Lands—put
together with monstrous long snouts and frightful fangs, thin,
lumbering, with dry, acrid meat—and who has also contemplated
the pigs that are raised in Toluca—snubnosed, fat, handsome—will
understand why the good chorizo and the good carnitas can only
be eaten [there].
—ALFONSO SÁNCHEZ GARCÍA, Toluca de chorizo [author’s
translation]
It is certainly like no other sausage: fragrant with herbs and spices,
rich and tender with deep-red chile, and pleasantly sharp with a
touch of vinegar. It hangs in undulating strings all over Toluca (like
waves of the Nile, says Sr. Sánchez García)—in the butchers’ counters
that border one of the big market buildings and in the beautifully
packed taco stalls a few buildings over. And it’s in the little downtown stores that sell Tolucan treasures like fresh asadero cheese
(flavored with epazote and chile manzano), jars of colorful pickled
vegetables, and bottles of orange-flavored liqueur called moscos.
Strings of chorizos: red with dried peppers and uniquely green with
tomatillos, fresh coriander and hot chiles—either of them textured
with peanuts, almonds, raisins or pine nuts.
Of course, Toluca doesn’t have a corner on chorizo or longaniza (as
a cheaper, often untied brother is called). The little Oaxacan sausages,
tied in 1ВЅ-inch rounds, are deliciously sweet and spicy. The Yucatecan sticks of longaniza from Valladolid are smoky and closer in
appearance to pepperoni. And Chiapas has a stunning array of nearly
unacculturated smoked and fresh Spanish-style meats, from butifarra
sausage to good hams. Those are the highlights; lesser sausage specialties string on and on.
But none of those other specialties compares with the proudly
nationalistic chorizo. Sr. SГЎnchez GarcГ­a swells up with the refrain:
70 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
And what is it that Toluca—the Mexican ground—added to the
Spanish chorizo to produce the non plus ultra of chorizos? The
answer is in the flavor, undoubtedly…
First: the flavor of the corn that the luminous Tolucan valley produces, filtered, by natural alchemy, [through] to the meat of our pigs.
Second: the flavor of the exciting, sweet, sour, dried red chile
that…[is] the essence of mole with turkey.
Third: the flavors and aromas of the herbs,…chosen and united in
the Mexican ways; the touch of strong coriander seeds, the freshness
of ginger and, above all else, the careful process, the observance of
certain rules, the little details of seasoning, etc., that constitute the
artistic contribution of the Tolucan pork butchers to the singularity
of their chorizo. [author’s translation]
Tolucan Chorizo Sausage
TOLUCAN CHILEFLAVORED SAUSAGE
Chorizo ToluqueГ±o
Chorizo sits prominently on the mixed-grill combination plates in
places known for charcoal fires; other places it gets scrambled invit-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 71
ingly into fresh eggs, or browned with crispy potatoes. One of my
favorites, though, is chorizo on a plate of good melted cheese, with
a stack of fresh-baked flour tortillas to roll it all in.
The chorizo recipe that follows, for the deliciously flavored Tolucan
variety, is based on one in Velázquez de León’s Platillos regionales
de la RepГєblica Mexicana.
about 1ВЅ pounds fresh sausage; about 1 pound after airdrying for 36 hours
YIELD:
1
/3 pound pork fat, cut into ВЅ-inch cubes
2 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
2 medium (about 2/3 ounce total) dried chiles pasillas,
stemmed, seeded and deveined
A generous Вј teaspoon coriander seeds (or about Вј teaspoon
ground)
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1
/8 teaspoon cloves (or a generous 1/8 teaspoon ground)
Вѕ teaspoon dried oregano
A generous Вј teaspoon black peppercorns (or about 1/3
teaspoon ground)
1
/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1
/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons good-quality paprika
1 generous teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1
/3 cup cider vinegar
8 ounces lean, boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes and
chilled
8 ounces lean, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
and chilled
4 to 5 feet of hog casings in 1 or 2 pieces, for stuffing the
sausage (optional)
1. The pork fat. Place the pork fat in the freezer (to firm it for easy
chopping) while preparing the seasonings.
2. The chiles and other seasonings. Set a griddle or heavy skillet over
medium heat, then tear the chiles into large flat pieces. A few at a
time, lay the chiles on the hot surface, press them down with a
metal spatula until they blister and change color, flip them over and
72 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
press down to toast the other side. Cool until crisp, then crumble
them into a spice grinder (or blender fitted with the miniblend container). Measure in the coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves,
oregano and black peppercorns, and pulverize. Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl, add the nutmeg, ginger, paprika
and salt, then stir in the garlic and vinegar.
3. Grinding and flavoring the meat. Set up a meat grinder fitted with
the coarse grinding plate. Mix together the pork loin, shoulder and
fat, then run through the grinder and into the bowl with the
seasonings. Mix the meat and seasonings thoroughly, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Before using or stuffing the sausage, fry a little,
taste it, then add more salt, if necessary.)
4. Optional stuffing and aging. If the casings were packed in salt,
soak for an hour before stuffing. According to manufacturer’s directions, set up the meat grinder with the funnellike sausage-stuffing
attachment.
Rinse the casings, then check each piece for leaks by running water
through it; either cut the casing where there are leaks or discard the
piece. (To be useful, a casing should be at least 30 inches long, with
no leaks.)
Thread 1 piece. of casing over the sausage-stuffing attachment,
leaving a 3-inch overhang. Begin feeding the sausage through: When
it comes through the end of the attachment, clamp off the casing so
that the sausage collects and stretches the casing to a 1-inch diameter;
if there is an air bubble, stop the machine and work it out. Feeding
the sausage through the grinder in an uninterrupted flow, slowly
move the casing away from the stuffer as the sausage fills out a
continuous 1-inch diameter link. When the sausage is about 6 inches
long, pull off an extra inch of casing and squeeze through the meat,
completing one link and starting another. Continue until all of the
sausage meat has been cased, stopping to thread on more casing as
necessary.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 73
Stuffing chorizo sausage into casing
Either twist the links several times to separate them or tie pieces
of string between them. Hang in a cool, dry, airy place for about 36
hours or until dry to the touch and somewhat firm. Set a dish underneath to catch drips.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.
74 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Aging and Drying: The overnight refrigeration is simply to blend the
flavors; at the end of it, the sausage is usable, though the texture will
be crumbly because of the high moisture content. Aging the sausage
produces a firm, compact texture and mellower flavor.
An Alternative Unstuffed, Refrigerated Aging: Without a sausage
stuffer, place the sausage in a colander, set in a bowl, cover and
refrigerate for 2 days. Excess liquid will drip off or evaporate and the
flavors will improve.
Ingredients
The Chiles: Anchos are essential; if pasillas aren’t available, replace
them with an extra ancho.
Hog Casing: Many grocery stores make their own sausage and will
sell you casings, usually salt-packed in 1-pound containers. They keep
at least 6 months, refrigerated.
Equipment
Meat Grinder and Sausage Stuffer: I use the commonly available
Kitchen Aid meat grinder and sausage stuffer that fits on the
heavy-duty mixer. Any meat grinder will work, and you can get some
of them with sausage-stuffing attachments. Without a meat grinder,
I’d use a food processor for grinding and opt for the refrigerated aging.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start at least 24 hours (preferably 3 days) ahead and allow about 45
minutes to make the sausage, then 30 to 45 minutes to stuff it. Wrapped
and refrigerated, the sausage will keep for a week or so.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Tolucan Chorizo with Nuts and Raisins: Prepare the sausage as
directed; before stuffing, stir in Вј cup each raisins, toasted almonds
(coarsely chopped) and toasted peanuts or pine nuts.
Chorizo with Spirits: Josefina VelГЎzquez de LeГіn, in her 1946 edition
of SalchichonerГ­a casera recommends adding 2 tablespoons grain alcohol
(you could use vodka, though it’s not as strong). It has a nice effect on
the meat and adds another bit of preservative; with this addition of
liquid, the sausage must be air-dried.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 75
THIN-SLICED STRIPS OF
BEEF, FRESH OR DRIED TO
JERKY
Cecina de Res y Carne Seca
My butcher in Oaxaca could brandish her long steel knife with grace
and speed, unfolding a thick slab of beef round into thin sheets for
curing. She salted them, then hung them above her counter for customers to buy fresh (for tough little steaks) or dry (to roast and gnaw,
or to stew). With a little age, the flavors mellowed and
deepened—like those of a well-aged steak.
Her thin-cutting-with-the-grain is a time-honored approach to
making rather tough fresh meat into something more versatile. The
method is used for pork and venison as well as beef, and it’s the
method employed north of the border for the Old West’s jerky.
Sheer lack of familiarity made me hesitant to tackle this preparation until I was forced to, after having been smitten with a love for
Burritos with Shredded Jerky and the Scrambled Eggs with Shredded
Jerky. Now, I almost always have some on hand. Once you get the
feel of the thin-slicing procedure (it may seem awkward at first, if
you’ve not done a lot of meat cutting), you’ll find jerky easily managed in your kitchen. This recipe is one I learned in Baja California.
YIELD:
about 1Вј pounds thin-sliced beef or about 7 ounces jerky
A 1ВЅ-pound piece eye of round
1ВЅ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1ВЅ teaspoons dried oregano
1. Accordian-cutting the meat. Using a very sharp knife (such as a
boning, filleting or slicing knife), trim the ends, top and bottom of
the meat to make them flat, giving you a roughly loaf-shaped chunk
(weighing about 1Вј pounds). Reserve the scraps for another use.
Lay the meat so that its length (and the grain) runs crosswise in
front of you. Place one hand firmly on top of the meat, then begin
slicing at one end, parallel to the work surface and 1/8 inch below
the top (and, as you guessed, 1/8 inch below the level of your hand).
76 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
making first slice for cecina
making second slice for cecina
Work your way across the meat, but stop 1/8 inch short of the
other end; do not cut through. Remove your knife, turn the meat 180В°
and start a second cut across, ¼ inch below the top. When you’ve
cut across about 1 inch, open out the top slice, bending it on the
1
/8-inch “hinge” that you left at the end. Lay your hand firmly on
the newly exposed top and continue cutting across, again 1/8 inch
below the surface, below your hand. Stop 1/8 inch from the end,
turn the meat around and begin a third slice Вј inch below what is
now the top. Cut across 1 inch, unfold the second slice, then continue
your cut, 1/8 inch below your firmly held hand. Work your way
back and forth across the meat, leaving 1/8-inch hinges at the end
of each slice, until the entire piece has been stretched out to a long,
1
/8-inch-thick piece of meat.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 77
finished thin-sliced cecina
2. Salting and aging. Mix together the salt, lime juice and oregano,
stirring until the salt has mostly dissolved. Spread out the meat,
smear the mixture on both sides, then refold into its original shape.
Let stand ВЅ hour.
Unfold the meat and hang it to dry in a dry place with good air
circulation.
3. For cecina (fresh or half-dried strips of beef). For dishes that call for
cecina, let the meat dry a few hours or overnight. Cut into manageable-size pieces, cover and refrigerate; to ensure that the meat doesn’t
dry any further, you may lightly rub both sides with oil.
4. For carne seca (jerky). For dishes that require jerky, let the meat
hang for at least 48 hours. If you plan to keep it for an extended
period, let it hang several days longer, then loosely wrap and store
in a cool, dry place.
78 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Accordian-Cutting Meat: There is really nothing tricky about this
technique, but it does require a little practice. Work slowly, slicing
with firm, back-and-forth, sawing motions. The firmly held hand
compacts the meat and holds it in place, making it much more
manageable. If you work carefully, there is little risk of cutting yourself.
Drying the Beef: Some recipes direct you to hang it in the sun during
the day, then bring it in at night; a cool, dry kitchen window works
well, also. High humidity keeps the meat from drying and can cause
it to spoil.
Ingredients
Eye of Round: This cut is the right size for home cecina making. A
comparable alternative is a solid piece of round or sirloin tip roast.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Plan on 20 to 30 minutes to prepare the meat, then ВЅ hour for seasoning
and anywhere from 12 to 48 hours for aging, depending on the meat’s
intended use. Fully dried jerky will keep for several months, loosely
wrapped at a cool room temperature.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Chile-Dried Beef: Mix 2 teaspoons pulverized, toasted chile guajillo or
New Mexico chile with the salt-lime-oregano flavoring; add a little
cayenne, if you wish. Prepare the meat as directed in Steps 1 and 2,
coating it with the chile seasoning, then hanging it to dry.
Regional Explorations
Northern Mexico is the equivalent of our cowboy West, and likewise
it’s the land of jerky. Dried beef is so commonly used there that the
process has been industrialized: The meat is force-dried and tenderized,
giving it the look of a horse-hair blanket.
This basic preparation is known widely in Mexico: cecina
when fresh (a term also used to refer simply to the with-thegrain slicing) and carne seca or cecina oreada when dried.
Oaxaca follows a different lead: The thin-sliced beef is tasajo
and pork (usually smeared with chile paste) is cecina.
SHEETS OF PORK IN
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 79
CHILE-SPICE MARINADE
Carne de Puerco Enchilada
The chile and vinegar tenderize the meat and give it that incomparable Mexican savor; the spices and herbs make it rich-tasting and
attractive.
As in jerky-making, slicing the meat for this preparation is easily
mastered, and there’s nothing tricky about the marinade. The finished sheets of pork can be enjoyed simply fried like pork steaks
and served with Roasted Pepper Rajas on the side, or they can be
fried and sliced for tacos.
YIELD:
a generous pound
A 1Вј-pound piece of lean, boneless pork loin
1
/3 cup Red-Chile Marinade (Adobo,
1. Trimming the meat. Using a sharp knife (such as a boning, filleting
or slicing knife), trim off the cap of fat that covers one side of the
pork loin. On the other side of the loin, there may be a strip that runs
the length and has a different texture than the solid loin meat: Separate it by running your hand down the membrane that connects it
to the loin, then cut it off and reserve for pork fillings and the like.
If there is membrane or fat covering any of the surfaces, trim it off.
The piece of loin should now be clear, solid meat from one end to
the other.
2. Slicing the meat. Slice the meat “accordian” fashion, into a single
1
/8-inch-thick strip, as described in Step 1.
3. Coating and marinating the meat. Coat the meat with adobo and
restack it: Spread a scant tablespoon of the paste over the center of
a small plate, lay the bottom layer of meat over it, spread with a thin
cap of adobo, fold over the next layer of meat, spread with adobo, and
so on, until the meat has been restacked with a little adobo between
all layers. Spread the top and sides with adobo, cover with plastic
wrap and refrigerate for several hours or, preferably, overnight.
80 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Dried ancho chiles
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Cutting the Meat: See the note.
Ingredients
Pork Loin: Some cooks replace it with boneless pork shoulder because
the latter is juicier when cooked. It is also harder to cut, though. A
pound of thin-cut boneless pork steaks is a nice alternative for those
not wanting to tackle the accordian cut; they won’t be cut with the
grain, though, so the texture will be different.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If the marinade (adobo) is ready, the meat will take 20 to 30 minutes to
slice and coat. Start at least 4 hours ahead, so the meat has time to
marinate.
Regional Explorations
There are trays of the pork—thin, long-grained slices, smeared with
the well-spiced paste—sitting under the butchers’ ropes of chorizo
sausage in Tuxtla GutiГ©rrez, Oaxaca, Acapulco and Chilpancingo, in
Guadalajara, Aguascalientes, San Luis PotosГ­ and points in between.
The sliced pork may be replaced with little ribs, for roasting or braising;
or the sheets of pork may be stacked on a vertical skewer, roasted in
front of a gas or charcoal fire (like Greek gyros) and shaved off for
tacos al pastor.
Kitchen Spanish
The names seem to change with the landscape: cecina in Oaxaca,
carne de puerco enchilada in Guerrero, and carne de puerco adobada in
many other spots. Of course, that makes it sound more codified than
the free-roaming variants really are.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 81
SHREDDED POACHED
CHICKEN
Pollo Deshebrado
The muscular Mexican birds are nearly always poached to get them
tender—even before turning them into fried chicken. They practically
raise themselves all over the country, they’re quick to stew and
shred, and the result is easy to stretch into filling for tortilla-wrapped
snacks to feed an army.
about 3 cups (18 ounces) for a whole chicken, 11/3 cups (8
ounces) for a medium breast
YIELD:
For a whole chicken:
ВЅ medium onion, roughly chopped
7 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium (3ВЅ-pound) chicken, quartered
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
3 bay leaves
For a chicken breast:
Вј medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cups water
ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 medium (about 1-pound) whole chicken breast, halved
ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
2 bay leaves
1. Preliminaries. Place the onion, water and salt in a saucepan (a
4-quart one for a whole chicken, a 2-quart for a breast) and bring to
a boil.
2. Cooking the chicken. If cooking a whole chicken: add the dark-meat
quarters. Skim off any foam that rises during the first few minutes
of simmering, add the herbs and bay leaves, partially cover and
simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the breast quarters
(plus additional hot water to cover, if necessary), skim off any new
82 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
foam that rises once the liquid returns to a simmer, partially cover
and simmer for 13 minutes.
If cooking only chicken breast: Add the breast quarters (plus additional hot water to cover, if necessary). Skim off any foam that rises
during the first minute of simmering, add the herbs and bay leaves,
partially cover and simmer over medium heat for 13 minutes.
Remove the pot from the fire and let the chicken (whether whole
bird or just breast) cool in the broth, if there is time.
3. Shredding the chicken. Skin and bone the chicken, then shred the
meat into small pieces. Sprinkle with salt before using, unless directed otherwise in your recipe.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Timing Poached Chicken: Unlike the free-ranging Mexican chicken,
the American “hot-house” chicken needs to be carefully
timed—especially the breast—so it comes out tender but moist. The
chicken is juiciest when cooled in the broth.
Timing and Advance Preparation
A whole poached chicken will be ready in 25 minutes, plus an hour
for optional cooling in the broth and 10 minutes for boning and
shredding. Covered and refrigerated, it will last for 2 or 3 days.
BROTH
Caldo
One lesson kitchen history has taught us is that good cooking requires good broth, and in my opinion, the little artificially flavored
bouillon cubes don’t count. Most Mexican broths aren’t as rich as
their relatives, the French stocks; in fact, a really strong stock can
unbalance the flavors of many Mexican preparations. Soups need
the richest broths, while Mexican sauces can take those that are
weaker.
Since meats in Mexican cooking are frequently simmered until
tender, many dishes create their own broths. When they don’t, here’s
how you proceed.
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ quarts
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 83
2 pounds meaty poultry, pork or beef bones or odd pieces
(plus poultry innards—excluding the liver—for poultry broth)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
8 black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
1 small carrot, sliced (optional)
1 rib celery, roughly chopped (optional)
1. Preliminaries. Place the bones and so forth in a large saucepan,
add the onion, garlic and 3 quarts water and bring slowly to a simmer. Skim off all the grayish foam that rises during the first few
minutes of simmering, then add the bay leaves, herbs, peppercorns,
and the carrot and celery, if you are using them.
2. Simmering, straining and degreasing. Partially cover and simmer
gently over medium-low heat for at least 2 hours (the liquid should
reduce to about 1ВЅ quarts); pork or beef broth will have a better
flavor if simmered 4 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the
quantity at no less than 1ВЅ quarts.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. If there
is time, let cool, refrigerate for several hours, then scrape off the
congealed fat. Otherwise, let stand several minutes, then spoon off
the fat that rises.
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow at least 2 hours to make a decent broth (preferably 4 hours for
beef or pork broth). Covered and refrigerated, it will keep 4 or 5 days.
CONVENIENT VARIATION
Doctored-Up Canned Chicken Broth for Soup: In a small saucepan,
fry the onion in a little oil until soft, add the garlic and cook 2 minutes.
Add 3 bay leaves, ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs, 6 coarsely ground
peppercorns, the optional carrot and celery and 1 quart good-quality
canned chicken broth (low in MSG and salt). Simmer, partially covered,
for 30 minutes, then strain.
84 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
FISH BROTH
Caldo de Pescado
One of the most important ingredients in a really good fish soup or
sauce is a well-made fish broth. This version that I’ve developed is
rich without being strong or fishy, it has additions that enhance the
piscine flavor, and it has a nice, reddish-brown hue. In Mexico, the
heads and bones are always sold beside the fillets and such; in the
United States, you need to call ahead to the fish markets to have
them reserved.
YIELD:
about 2 quarts
2 pounds fish heads (gills removed) and bones
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1 medium-large carrot, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small dried chile ancho, stemmed and seeded (optional)
1 ripe, medium-large tomato (or 1 ½, if you’re not using the
chile ancho), sliced
OR 2/3 15-ounce can tomatoes (or an entire 15-ounce can, if
you’re not using the chile ancho), drained and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1ВЅ teaspoons mixed dried herbs (such as thyme and marjoram)
4 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)
ВЅ teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
Вј teaspoon aniseed
4 strips of orange zest (orange rind only, no white), each about
ВЅ inch wide and 2 inches long
1. Preliminaries. Rinse the heads and bones, then place in a large
saucepan along with the celery, onion, carrot, garlic and vegetable
oil. Stir to coat the fish and vegetables lightly with oil, place over
medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.
2. Simmering, straining and degreasing. Uncover and add the chile
ancho, tomato, bay leaves, herbs, spices and orange zest. Pour in 10
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 85
cups water, partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Skim off
the fat that rises and it is ready to use.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Simmering Fish Broth: Unlike other broths, fish broth gets bitter and
strong if simmered more than 20 or 25 minutes.
Ingredients
Fish Heads and Bones: They must be fresh and have the bloody gills
(which cloud the broth) removed. Avoid overly strong or oily fish like
most salmon, mackerel and bluefish.
Timing and Advance Preparation
It takes 40 minutes to prepare the broth. Covered and refrigerated, it
keeps 3 days.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Sopa de Pescado: Half a recipe of this delicious broth can be turned
into about 1ВЅ quarts very good Mexican fish soup: Fry 1 small onion
(sliced) in a little olive oil until lightly browned, then add 2
medium-small tomatoes (roasted or boiled, cored, peeled and chopped)
or a 15-ounce can of tomatoes (drained and chopped); cook until
reduced and thick. Add the broth and a big sprig epazote (or ВЅ teaspoon
dried oregano); simmer 20 minutes. Add 1 to 1ВЅ pounds boneless,
skinless fish fillets (cubed) and simmer gently for several minutes,
until the fish is tender (ВЅ pound of the fish can be replaced with 12
whole clams and ВЅ pound shrimp or tender-simmered squid or
octopus for a sopa de mariscos). Serve with wedges of lime, plus a bowl
of chopped onion and fresh coriander to sprinkle on. This is also good
with ВЅ cup sliced, pitted green olives and/or 3 medium boiling
potatoes, added with the broth.
86 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Chile ancho, Red-Chile Marinade
RED-CHILE MARINADE
Adobo
This marinade brings to life Chile-Marinated Pork and Fish Adobado
in Cornhusks. It lasts indefinitely in the refrigerator, since vinegar,
chile and salt are three preservatives that for centuries have been
put to work in Mexican kitchens. I keep it around to spread on pork
chops or ribs that I marinate and bake slowly, and it’s an excellent
quick marinade for a flavorful, meaty fish fillet, gently pan-fried or
charcoal-grilled.
I developed this recipe while living in Oaxaca. My butcher gave
me some of her adobo to use as a guide and told me how she made
it. Though she called for all guajillos, I’ve used some of the sweeter
anchos as well (as many cookbooks suggest).
YIELD:
1 generous cup
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
4 medium (about 2 ounces total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
6 medium (about 1ВЅ ounces total) dried chiles guajillos,
stemmed, seeded and deveined
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1 clove (or a pinch ground)
10 black peppercorns (or a scant Вј teaspoon ground)
2 large bay leaves, broken up
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 87
1
/8 teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous 1/8 teaspoon ground)
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
ВЅ teaspoon dried thyme
1ВЅ teaspoon salt
Вј cup cider vinegar
Toasting the chiles and garlic. Roast the garlic cloves on a griddle or
heavy skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until blackened
in spots and very soft, about 15 minutes. Remove, cool, skin and
roughly chop.
While the garlic is roasting, tear the chiles into flat pieces and toast
them a few at a time: Use a metal spatula to press them firmly against
the hot surface for a few seconds, until they blister, crackle and
change color, then flip them over and press them flat to toast the
other side.
2. Soaking the chiles. Break the chiles into a small bowl, cover with
boiling water, weight with a plate to keep submerged and soak 30
minutes. Drain, tear into smaller pieces, place in a blender jar and
add the garlic.
3. Finishing the adobo. In a mortar or spice grinder, pulverize the
cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and cumin. Add to the
chiles along with the oregano, thyme, salt, vinegar and 3 tablespoons
water. With a long series of blender pulses, reduce the mixture to a
paste: Run the blender for a few seconds until the mixture clogs,
then scrape down the sides with a spatula and stir; repeat a dozen
times or more until the mixture is smooth. Don’t add water unless
absolutely necessary or this marinating paste won’t do its job well.
Strain the paste through a medium-mesh sieve into a noncorrosive
container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate.
88 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Anchos or Guajillos: All of the chiles can be anchos or guajillos;
they’re both commonly used. You can substitute 3½ ounces (10 or 11)
California or New Mexico chile pods, though the flavor will be light.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow ВЅ hour to make the adobo. Covered and refrigerated, it will keep
for months.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Adobo with Powdered Chiles: For a darker, stronger-tasting adobo
made without the tedious series of blender runs, toast the chiles and
garlic as directed in Step 1, then pulverize the chiles with the cinnamon,
clove, pepper, bay leaves and cumin in several batches in a spice
grinder; sift through a medium-mesh sieve. Skin the garlic and mash
it to a smooth paste. Mix with the powdered chile mixture, oregano,
thyme, salt, vinegar and 6 tablespoons water. Store as described in
Step 3.
Kitchen Spanish
The thick Larousse Spanish-English dictionary lists the Spanish verb
adobar with the English “to season, to marinate.” In Mexico, that
generally involves a combination of chile, spices and vinegar (it can
mean soy sauce and vinegar to Filipinos, barbecue sauce to
Mexican-Americans). A finished Mexican dish called [some meat]
en adobo or [some meat] adobada, however, can vary widely in sauciness.
To make a generalization (which is not always easy with a cuisine as
fluid and uncodified as Mexico’s), a meat en adobo is stewed and saucy;
a meat adobada (sometimes enchilada) is smeared with a chile
marinade…then baked, broiled, fried or roasted.
YUCATECAN SEASONING PASTES
Recados Yucatecos
Recado: a combination of different spices…that are necessary for
cooking.
—Diccionario de mejicanismos [author’s translation]
They sit in dense mounds, piled and pressed into colorful plastic
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 89
dishpans in the numerous market spice stalls in MГ©rida, YucatГЎn.
A brick-red, an olive-amber and a coal-black.
The first has the flavor of the red achiote seeds that grow plentifully
in the peninsula in pods that resemble the fruit of the horse chestnut.
They’re ground with the definitive lot of Yucatecan herbs and spices
(oregano, black pepper, cloves, cumin) plus garlic and a little vinegar.
The combination is one of the tastiest, most likable and most popular
flavorings in Yucatán—whether smeared on chicken, pork or fish
for baking in banana leaves or added to tamales and stews. In books
published as early as 1832, I’ve come across this recado… so cooks
in the area have had a long tradition of cooking with preblended
spices. This red one goes by recado rojo (“red recado”) as well as adobo
de achiote (“achiote seasoning”).
The second flavoring is the gentlest to nonnative tongues, made
entirely of garlic and spices (usually including a good pinch of native
allspice and sometimes cinnamon). When you buy preportioned
packets, they’re labeled recado de bistec (“steak recado”); but as far as
I can tell, the seasoning is most often used in the local escabeche
dishes. It is so much easier than the other two pastes that cooks who
are really proud of their escabeches make it from scratch.
The black paste, called recado negro (“black recado”), chirmole or
chilmole, is the most exotic and indigenous-tasting of the flavorings.
It’s made black from carbonized—that is, black-burnt—chiles, then
it’s enriched with a little achiote, the spices and garlic. The cooks use
it in a ground-pork “stuffing” (but negro) that’s part of the more
famous pavo en relleno negro (literally “turkey with black stuffing”).
“Eating it is an act of faith,” says R. B. Read in his Gastronomic Tour
of Mexico, “since you can’t tell what you’re putting in your mouth,
but you’re aided considerably by the fact that, somehow, it’s delicious.”
This is the triad of flavorings that distinguish most of the traditional Yucatecan dishes. I’ve included recipes for the first two pastes,
since you’ll find need for them in several preparations in following
chapters.
YUCATECAN ACHIOTE
SEASONING PASTE
Recado Rojo
YIELD:
Вј cup
90 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1 tablespoon achiote seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or a scant 1ВЅ teaspoons ground)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves (or about 1/8 teaspoon ground)
ВЅ teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1 inch cinnamon stick (or about 1 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or a generous teaspoon ground)
1 scant teaspoon salt
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1ВЅ teaspoons flour
1. The spices. Measure the achiote seeds, peppercorns, oregano,
cloves, cumin, cinnamon and coriander seeds into a spice grinder
and pulverize as completely as possible; it will take a minute or
more, due to the hardness of the achiote. Transfer to a small bowl
and mix in the salt.
garlic, vinegar, coriander seeds, black pepper, achiote seeds, Yucatecan
Achiote Seasoning Paste, Cumin seeds
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 91
2. The seasoning paste. Finely mince the garlic, then sprinkle it with
some of the spice mixture and use the back of a spoon or a flexible
spreader to work it back and forth, smearing it into a smooth paste.
Scrape in with the remaining spice powder, then mix in the vinegar
and flour.
Scoop into a small jar, cover and let stand several hours (or,
preferably, overnight) before using.
92 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Mexican cinnamon, chile guajillo, cloves Mexican oregano, bay leaves,
Yucatecan Mixed-Spice Paste
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 93
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Grinding Achiote: Because achiote seeds are very hard, they are best
pulverized in a high-speed spice grinder; unless they are reduced to
a powder, the paste will be gritty. Second choice: a blender fitted with
a miniblend container: Prepare a double batch, pulverizing the achiote
and spices first, then blending in the garlic (roughly chopped) and,
finally, the vinegar and flour. A mortar requires lots of energy: Grind
the seeds a teaspoon at a time, transferring them to a small bowl; grind
the spices, then add in the ground achiote and the garlic, flour and
vinegar, and pound to a paste.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The paste can be finished in 15 minutes, but should be made several
hours ahead. Refrigerate if not using within 2 days; it keeps well for
months.
YUCATECAN MIXEDSPICE PASTE
Recado de Bistec
YIELD:
about 3 tablespoons
12 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or a scant 1ВЅ teaspoons ground)
Вј teaspoon allspice berries (or a generous Вј teaspoon ground)
Вј teaspoon cloves (or a generous Вј teaspoon ground)
Вј teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous Вј teaspoon ground)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon flour
1. The garlic. Roast the unpeeled garlic on a griddle or heavy skillet
set over medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until
blackened outside in spots and very soft inside. Remove, cool, then
slip off the skin.
2. The herbs and spices. Measure the black pepper, allspice, cloves,
94 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
cumin and oregano into a mortar or spice grinder and pulverize
thoroughly. Transfer to a small bowl and add the salt.
3. The seasoning paste. Finely mince the garlic, then sprinkle with
some of the spice mixture and use a flexible spreader or the back of
a spoon to work it back and forth, mashing it to a smooth paste. Scrape
in with the remaining spice powder, then work in the vinegar and
flour.
Scrape into a small jar, cover and let stand for several hours (or,
preferably, overnight) before using.
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
This paste goes together in 20 minutes, but is best made several hours
ahead. It keeps well for months, but should be refrigerated.
Kitchen Spanish
For those who speak non-Mexican Spanish, the common recaudo, which
means “seasonings” elsewhere, has become recado in much of Mexico;
and, yes, recado also means “message.”
TORTILLAS
Within a quarter of a century after the Spaniards brought wheat to
the New World, it was written that bread in Mexico City was as
good and cheap as what you could find in Spain. Not exactly what
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one would expect in a country that from time immemorial had put
a tortilla in each person’s hand several times every day. But the
locals readily picked up the new custom, and still today the daily
wheat bread in Mexico City is some of the best—the crisp-crusted
rolls (bolillos) split on top and tapered at both ends. They’re made a
lot like French bread, though not as light inside…and the butter you
get to spread on them is flavorful and delicious.
Those who haven’t traveled through Mexico often don’t realize
that some kind of French-style bread is available in all parts of the
country, and that it comes to the table in most all restaurants, especially those in the cities. Certainly, tortillas continue to nourish the
provincial masses, they’re generally preferred for everyday eating,
and the best traditional restaurants invariably have a woman
rhythmically baking tortillas all during the dining hours, so they’ll
be perfectly fresh. But the split-topped bolillos or the softer, doubleor triple-humped teleras hold a firm place in everyone’s eating, especially when eating out. The bread is generally nice and light in old
colonial cities. But through the North and down to the Gulf, bolillos
frequently lack the crisp crusts (and, in the North, can be quite
sweet). In the YucatГЎn peninsula, the bakers know nothing of bolillos
and teleras: They make long loaves of French bread (called, appropriately, franceses) and soft, light dinner rolls.
But tortillas are known everywhere, and they’re the same thin,
unleavened, griddle-baked cakes of fresh masa in most all locales.
Except, as I was startled to discover, in JuchitГЎn, Oaxaca, where the
tortillas approach Вј-inch thickness, and are slapped onto the inside
wall of a hot, barrel-shaped, clay oven and baked. There is nothing
to compare to their earthy, slightly smoky taste when they’re retrieved from the oven; certainly they are the most unusual tortillas
I know in Mexico.
What follows here are detailed recipes for making the traditionally
thin tortillas (I doubt many would have the tandoori-style oven for
the Juchitecan tortillas), using the easily available masa harina as well
as fresh masa. Then we proceed to the Northern-style tortillas made
of wheat flour, and the fried corn tortillas for tostadas and chips.
Any of them in their homemade versions make a meal truly memorable, especially just-baked tortillas from fresh masa or soft, warm,
flour tortillas.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 97
Crusty Mexican roll (bolills)
MAГЌZ IN THE MEXICAN KITCHEN
Perhaps it was, as some experts claim, the small, wild Mexican grass
teocincle that mothered our big ears of corn: teocincle from Nahuatl
teo (“god”) and cincle (“corn”). Perhaps it was another grain, long
since forgotten, that the hungry early inhabitants of the land tamed
for their staple. Whatever the seed, they learned through the millennia to grow their precious plant with good-size ears and take full
advantage of its nutrients.
They dried the starchy corn during the days of its harvest, then
boiled it little by little, day by day, to soften it for their teeth and
their stomachs. Then a change came somewhere along the way: They
learned that adding a little of the lime they burned from sea shells
and limestone took off the kernel’s hard-to-digest hulls—and wood
ashes could do the same, they discovered.
And their bodies felt more strength: The corn now gave them
more minerals like niacin, more protein at their service, perhaps
more calcium. They had made the one nutritionally energizing discovery that could yield a strong race: nixtamalizaciГіn (from the
Nahuatl nextli, “ashes”).
Today, the process is still used when preparing the corn that becomes the smooth dough of tortillas, the coarse dough of tamales
and the whole hominy that goes into soups like pozole. The kernels
are boiled with a little slaked lime (cal), the hull quickly turns yellow,
and softens, then what’s left of it—and all the lime—is washed away.
98 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Though the ingredients and process involved here are quite unfamiliar to North Americans, I’ve included these recipes because they
are at the very heart of the Mexican kitchen: Without masa there
would never have been a Mexico as we know it—certainly nothing
like Mexican cooking. If there is a tortilla factory around, the ingredients are accessible; and with accessible ingredients, at least once you
should try the tamal dough or the hominy cooked from scratch…just
to feel the corn in your fingers and smell the age-old fragrance of
lime and dried corn.
Slaked lime, dried corn and clay
colander for washing corn
DOUGH FROM DRIED
CORN FOR TORTILLAS OR
TAMALES
Masa Para Tortillas o Tamales
YIELD:
2Вј to 2ВЅ pounds
1ВЅ pounds (1 quart) dried white field (flint or dent) corn
2 tablespoons slaked lime
1. Cleaning the corn. Measure the corn into a colander and rinse to
remove the chaff.
2. The lime mixture. Measure 2 quarts water into a large (4-quart)
noncorrosive pan, set over high heat, add the lime and stir to dissolve.
3. Boiling the corn. Stir the corn into the lime water and remove
any kernels that float. When the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 99
heat and simmer: for tortilla dough about 2 minutes, for tamal dough
12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let soak: for
tortilla dough let stand covered for several hours (or, preferably,
overnight), for tamal dough about 1 hour.
4. Washing the corn. Pour the corn into a colander and set under
running water. With both hands, thoroughly work through the corn,
carefully rubbing off what remains of the gelatinous yellow hulls
and letting the debris wash away. Continue until all is white again
(except the dark, pointed germ end of each kernel); drain well. The
hulled and cleaned, half-cooked corn is now called nixtamal in
Spanish.
5. Grinding the corn. For tortilla dough: Set up a plate-style mill (see
Equipment in Cook’s Notes), adjusting it for the finest grind. Place
the corn in the hopper and grind it through, a process that will take
some time (probably 30 minutes) and some endurance. The damp
grindings that come from between the plates should be smooth, not
gritty. When all the corn has been ground, work in enough water
(generally between 2/3 and Вѕ cup) to make the masa into a mediumsoft consistency dough. (Tortilla factories occasionally have a second
machine for amasando—that is, kneading and smoothing the dough;
the final working undoubtedly makes the lightest tortillas.)
For tamal dough: Spread the drained corn onto a towel and pat
thoroughly dry with another towel. Grind the dried corn through a
plate-style mill (see Equipment in Cook’s Notes), adjusted for a
medium to medium-fine grind. Or grind it in 4 batches in the food
processor, pulsing each batch 5 or 6 times, then letting the machine
run for several minutes until the corn is reduced to a meal that resembles damp hominy grits. Place the damp meal in a large bowl,
then work in enough water (generally about 2/3 cup) to make a stiff
dough.
100 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Making Masa for Tortillas vs. for Tamales: When preparing corn for
tortilla masa, don’t cook it too long or the resulting dough will be heavy
and lack the characteristic light, malleable body. The long soaking
ensures that the corn is properly penetrated; the kernels will not be
soaked completely through, however. For tamales, the corn is cooked
a little longer, not soaked much, then usually dried so that a coarse,
damp meal can be ground. This method of making masa for tamales
works well at home, but tortilla factories generally use the same corn
they’ve prepared for tortilla dough and simply grind it less smooth.
NOTE: When a recipe in this book calls for masa (that is, unless a recipe
calls specifically for masa for tamales), always use masa for tortillas.
Washing the Corn: This step should be completed carefully and
thoroughly; insufficient washing will result in yellow-colored masa
that tastes of the slaked lime.
Hand-Grinding Tortilla Dough: This process is, shall we say,
labor-intensive. It takes me as long as driving across Chicago to my
favorite tortilla factory (and it isn’t nearly as enjoyable). When I do
the hand-grinding, though, I dry and pregrind the corn in the food
processor (as if making tamal dough), then moisten it and grind it
through the mill.
Equipment
The Plate-Style Mill for Grinding Tortilla Dough: I’ve had two of
these corn/grain mills over the years: one with metal plates and one
with stone. While the metal plates are fine for grinding meal, stone
seems to be the only tool that will reduce the soaked corn to a smooth
paste. Mine is the Corona brand hand-powered mill; it can be ordered
through most health-food stores that stock equipment. Corona also
makes electric corn mills.
Timing and Advance Preparation
For tamal dough or whole-kernel hominy, start about 1ВЅ hours ahead
(2Вј hours ahead if you plan to pick the heads off the corn for
“flowered” hominy); you’ll be actively involved for a third of the 1½
hours. For tortilla dough, boil the corn the night before, then clean
and grind it (which will take at least ВЅ hour) the following day. Tortilla
dough needs to be used the day it is made; tamal dough or half-cooked
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 101
hominy will keep for 2 or 3 days, covered and refrigerated. Both can
be frozen.
HALF-COOKED HOMINY
FOR POZOLE
Nixtamal Para Pozole
YIELD:
enough to make about 4 quarts when fully cooked
2 pounds (5ВЅ cups) dried white field (flint or dent) corn
2ВЅ tablespoons slaked lime
1. Cleaning, boiling and washing the corn. Clean the corn and prepare
the lime mixture as directed in Steps 1 and 2 of the preceding recipe.
Boil it as you would for making tamales (Step 3); let stand for a few
minutes, then wash (Step 4). The corn is now called nixtamal.
2. Optional de-heading for “flowered” hominy. For the hominy used
in soups like pozole and menudo, the cleaned corn is ready to be slowly
simmered in unsalted water as directed in the various recipes. Or,
for the most attractive hominy, pick off the head (the pointed germ
end of each kernel)—a step that not only eliminates the hard inner
kernel, but lets the corn splay (or “flower,” as they say in Spanish)
into an attractive shape.
mesquite-wood and cast-iron tortilla presses
102 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
MAГЌZ:
MEXICO’S DAILY BREAD
The thick scent of masa being ground from once-dried corn is unmistakable, and the flavor of the fresh-baked tortillas it produces is a
definitive Mexican experience. Tortillas have kept away hunger
when other nourishment was scarce; they have been useful as
wrappers and scoops for eggs and beans and what have you; they
have thickened soups and stews; and on occasion they have even
served as tableware, when brittle and cupped under a pile of salt.
For the Mexican provider who needs fresh tortillas once (sometimes twice or three times) a day, the tortilla factory’s modern electric
mills, rolling dies and automated baking conveyors add up to a little
easier life. The one thing modernization can’t promise, though, is
the same thick tenderness of tortillas patted by well-practiced hands.
It has been done the same way for centuries: She pinches off a nut
of fresh, soft masa and begins to clap it from one damp hand to the
other, those fingers held stiff, with the slightest cup and spring to
the palm. Clap and turn, clap and turn, until the malleable masa has
been coaxed to a thin, even, saucer size. It takes hundreds of tries to
learn the right touch, and like learning a new language, few can
truly master it, I think, after adulthood arrives.
When Mexicans talk on and on about the soft tortillas of their innocent years, when they sing the praises of that elemental nourishment, no doubt they think of handformed, griddle-baked cakes,
those that sit on familiar dining room tables, moist and fragrant in
a heavy towel.
Regional Explorations
In the YucatГЎn and Gulf, tortilleras pat their cakes onto a piece of
plastic (originally banana leaf) instead of hand to hand. Some places
you’ll see the hinged press replaced with a complicated-looking
belted and levered contraption, and frequently the tortillas will come
through a hand-cranked pair of rollers with a round die on one of
them. Mostly, though, the masses are satisfied with the near-white,
near-fine, medium-thin tortillas that come off automated machines
around markets or dotted through neighborhoods everywhere; in
places like YucatГЎn, they even seem to be satisfied with tortillas
made from the powdered masa. I can think of two exceptions: the
Guadalajara market, where thick, yellowish tortillas are still pressed
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 103
out one at a time and griddle-baked; and Oaxaca, where vendors
around the market sell cloth-lined baskets of blanditas, the whitest,
smoothest-ground, thinnest tortillas imaginable. They are among
the most refined in the country and tortilla purists are willing to pay
a hefty price for them. Some of Mexico’s most interesting tortillas,
however, are Tabasco’s thick ones: the size of a salad plate and made
from maГ­z nuevo, half-dried corn. The dough is coarse and the hefty,
baked cakes are quick-fried and topped with sweet, browned garlic—tortillas al mojo de ajo, they call them, and they’re unforgettably
delicious.
All through the Central highlands and most of West-Central
Mexico, you’ll find blue (sometimes red) corn used for masa, and in
a few places they go for a yellow-grained corn. These are mostly for
special-occasion tortillas, though; for everyday eating, everyone
seems drawn to the smooth, supple, light-colored cakes that represent
half the daily volume that feeds the country.
CORN TORTILLAS
Tortillas de MaГ­z
For most of us North Americans, there is a proud feeling of accomplishment when we can pass around a basket of steaming homemade
tortillas to enjoy with our meals. With powdered masa harina so
widely distributed these days, more of us have learned how wonderful a fresh-baked tortilla is. And with the fresh-ground dough (masa)
becoming available from tortillerías in so many communities, it won’t
be long until the freshest-tasting home-baked tortillas are part of
many of our lives. Though tortillas take some time to prepare, it’s
time well spent—at least on special occasions. Other times, storebought factory-made tortillas can be served as the authentic accompaniment (and if they’re steam-heated as described on, they’ll be
very good indeed); and store-bought tortillas are fine, generally even
preferable, for most of the antojitos like enchiladas.
YIELD:
15 tortillas
1 pound fresh masa for tortillas, store-bought or homemade
OR 1Вѕ cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
hot tap water
1. The dough. If using masa harina, mix it with the hot water, then
104 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
knead until smooth, adding more water or more masa harina to
achieve a very soft (but not sticky) consistency; cover with plastic
and let rest 30 minutes
When you’re ready to bake the tortillas, readjust the consistency
of the fresh or reconstituted masa (see Techniques in Cook’s Notes),
then divide into 15 balls and cover with plastic.
2. Heating the griddle. Heat a large, ungreased, heavy griddle or 2
heavy skillets: one end of the griddle (or one skillet) over mediumlow, the other end (or other skillet) over medium to medium-high.
3. Pressing. Cut 2 squares of heavy plastic to fit the plates of your
tortilla press. With the press open, place a square of plastic over the
bottom plate, set a ball of dough in the center, cover with the second
square of plastic, and gently flatten the dough between. Close the
top plate and press down gently but firmly with the handle. Open,
turn the tortilla 180В°, close and gently press again, to an even 1/16inch thickness.
masa ball between sheets of plastic
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 105
Pressing out the masa ball
4. Unmolding. Open the press and peel off the top sheet of plastic.
Flip the tortilla onto one hand, dough-side down, then, starting at one
corner, gently peel off the remaining sheet of plastic.
Removing the top sheet of plastic
Removing remaining plastic from unbaked tortilla
106 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
5. Griddle-baking. Lay the tortilla onto the cooler end of the griddle
(or the cooler skillet). In about 20 seconds, when the tortilla loosens
itself from the griddle (but the edges have not yet dried or curled),
flip it over onto the hotter end of the griddle (or onto the hotter
skillet). When lightly browned in spots underneath, 20 to 30 seconds
more, flip a second time, back onto the side that was originally down.
If the fire is properly hot, the tortilla will balloon up like pita bread.
When lightly browned, another 20 or 30 seconds, remove from the
griddle (it will completely deflate) and wrap in a towel.
Press, unmold and bake the remaining balls of masa, placing each
hot tortilla on top of the last and keeping the stack well wrapped.
6. Resting. Let the wrapped stack of tortillas rest for about 15
minutes to finish their cooking, soften and become pliable.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 107
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Adjusting the Consistency of the Dough: You want the dough to be
softer than short-bread dough (or Play-Doh, if that rings a louder bell),
about like a soft cookie dough (though it isn’t sticky). Reconstituted
masa harina should be as soft as possible, while still having enough
body to be unmolded; it should feel a little softer than perfectly
adjusted fresh masa. Masa is not elastic like bread dough, but fresh
masa will have a little more body than a dough made from masa harina.
Because the dough dries out readily, it is necessary to add water from
time to time; tortillas made from dry dough usually won’t puff much,
and they’ll be heavy and somewhat crumbly.
Unmolding: If the tortilla breaks when you peel off the plastic, the
dough is too dry. If the tortilla refuses to come free from the plastic,
either you’ve pressed it too thin or the dough is too soft.
Griddle-Baking: If the lower heat isn’t low enough, the tortilla will
bubble and blister immediately and the result will be heavy. If the
higher heat isn’t high enough, the tortilla will not puff, which also
means it will be somewhat heavy. Don’t leave the tortilla for too long
before flipping it the first time; it will dry out and then not puff.
Getting Tortillas to Puff: After you flip the baking tortillas the second
time, pressing on them lightly with your fingertips or the back of your
spatula will encourage the two layers to separate.
Equipment
Tortilla Presses:.
Ingredients
Masa vs. Masa Harina: While fresh masa is unsurpassed for taste and
texture, masa harina makes good tortillas, though ones with a certain
toasted flavor and a slight graininess.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Masa harina dough should be made at least ВЅ hour ahead (though it
will keep for several hours at room temperature). Allow 15 to 30
minutes to press and bake the tortillas, depending on your proficiency
and amount of griddle room. The hot tortillas can be wrapped in
foil—towel and all—and kept warm in a low oven for an hour or so.
To reheat cold tortillas, see the directions.
108 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
WHEAT-FLOUR TORTILLAS
Tortillas de Harina
The first homemade-wheat-flour tortillas I remember tasting were
in Morelia, Michoacán, of all places—far away from the Northern
states where these are common. Outside the glass-enclosed kitchen
of the Silla de Cerro cabrito restaurant, you could watch one cook
care for the roasting kid and another rhythmically roll out ball after
ball of white dough—four or five passes, and they were ready to
bake on the iron griddle, where they ballooned beautifully. Like the
best of them, those tortillas were steaming, tender and savory-tasting.
After a lot of experimenting through the years I think that the
lightest and tastiest flour tortillas are the simplest ones—those made
from part lard and cooked over a fairly high heat. No baking powder,
no milk and no low-fat approaches. They are easy to make once you
get the feel of the process; your rewards will match the effort, too,
since they are so much better than the bready ones in the grocerystore packages.
YIELD:
12 tortillas
Вѕ pound (2Вѕ cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for
rolling the tortillas
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, or a mixture of the
two
Вѕ teaspoon salt
about Вѕ cup very warm tap water
1. The dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl,
working in the fat with your fingers, until completely incorporated.
Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry
ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will
be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry
ingredients haven’t been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus
a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface
and knead until smooth. It should be a medium-stiff consistency—definitely not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.
2. Resting. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a
ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least
30 minutes (to make the dough less springy, easier to roll).
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 109
3. Rolling and griddle-baking. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy
skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into
an even 7-inch circle: Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and
back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch
circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to
time.
Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle
and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30
to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip
it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned;
don’t overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in
a heavy towel. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the
same manner, stacking them one on top of the other, wrapped in
the towel.
Palm tortilla basket and cloth
110 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Combining Fat and Flour: If this isn’t done thoroughly (until no
particles of fat remain visible), the tortillas will have an irregular
texture.
Preparing the Dough in a Food Processor: Measure the flour and fat
into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times, then run until
the fat is thoroughly incorporated. Dissolve the salt in 2/3 cup warm
water. With the machine running, pour the liquid through the feed
tube in a steady stream. Let the machine run until the dough has
collected into a ball. Test the consistency: If it is too stiff, divide the
dough into several pieces, sprinkle with a tablespoon of water and
process until it forms a ball again. No additional kneading is necessary.
Griddle-Baking: The temperature is all important: It must be hot
enough to puff the tortillas quickly; if the tortilla balloons up into a
pillow, all the better, since the more bubbles the lighter the end result.
Ingredients
Lard and Shortening: In my opinion, flour tortillas made from all
vegetable shortening are bland, but those made with all lard are a little
crumbly and heavy. My favorite tortillas are made with 2ВЅ tablespoons
of each.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The dough preparation takes 15 minutes and should be begun 45
minutes before you start baking; covered and refrigerated, the dough
will keep for several days. Allow about 30 minutes for rolling and
baking. If you don’t plan to serve the tortillas right away, wrap the
cloth-covered tortillas in foil and keep them warm in a very low oven;
they will hold for an hour or more.
A NOTE ON REWARMING FLOUR TORTILLAS
Though they’re not quite as good as the fresh-baked ones, flour tortillas
can be made ahead; refrigerate them wrapped in a plastic bag. To
reheat, wrap stacks of 6 or 8 flour tortillas (either homemade or
store-bought) in foil and reheat them in a 325В° oven for 15 to 20
minutes.
CRISP-FRIED TORTILLAS
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 111
AND CHIPS
Tostadas y Tostaditas (o Totopos)
I’ve heard it said that North America’s favorite flavor is crisp, so
perhaps it’s no wonder that we’ve perfected the crisp chip snack.
Yes, it’s our tortilla factories that have learned to make up drier,
thinner tortillas (often made of rather coarse-ground masa), especially
for frying to a crisp light snap that almost melts in your mouth.
Mexicans, on the whole, don’t seem to be as enthralled with the
concept of crisp. So they fry sturdier, meatier tortillas, cut up for
chips (tostaditas) or left whole for tostadas.
For the exigencies of the North American audience, I’ve tackled
fried chips and tostadas in considerable detail, ensuring that what
you turn out will be crisp and light.
YIELD:
8 tostadas, or chips for 2 or 3 people
8 corn tortillas, preferably stale, store-bought ones
Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch, for deep-frying
Salt, as desired
1. Drying the tortillas. For chips, cut the tortillas into 4 to 6 wedges;
for tostadas, leave them whole. Spread into a single layer, cover
lightly with a dry towel to keep them from curling, and let dry until
very leathery.
2. Frying. Heat the oil to 380В°. For tostadas, lay the tortillas in the
oil one at a time, flip them after about 30 seconds, then fry them
until they are lightly browned and completely crisp, about 30 seconds
longer. For chips, distribute a few wedges of tortilla over the oil and
stir them nearly constantly to keep them separate, for 45 seconds to
1 minute, until lightly browned and completely crisp. Tostadas/chips
are not done until nearly all bubbling has stopped.
Remove from the oil, shaking off the excess, and drain on paper
towels. While the chips are warm, sprinkle with salt, if you like.
112 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Drying the Tortillas: If the tortillas are moist at all, they will turn out
greasy. Completely dried—that is, hard—tortillas come out greaseless
but very crunchy.
Deep-Frying: If the oil temperature ever drops below 360В°, the tostadas
or chips will usually turn out greasy. If possible, fry in a heavy pan
(to stabilize the heat) and use a thermometer. The color of the tortillas
will be darkened only slightly when the tostadas/chips are ready; if
fried until clearly brown (rather than golden brown), they will taste
burnt.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Plan an hour or so for drying the tortillas; frying goes quickly. You
can keep them warm in a low oven for ½ hour, but they’re best soon
after frying. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container for a day,
then rewarmed in the oven.
Regional Explorations
In Tuxtla GutiГ©rrez, Chiapas, the delicate tostadas rival the Stateside
beauties. In Guadalajara, you’ll find more substantial crisp-fried
tortillas by the bin load. Some places, tortillas are simply toasted to a
chewy crispness, rather than fried. The most famous are Tehuantepec’s
totopos (a word used to refer to chips in much of Mexico): They’re
made from coarse-ground masa that’s patted out, slapped onto the
walls of barrel-shaped clay ovens that resemble the East Indian tandoor,
and dried.
APPETIZERS AND SALADS
Entremeses y Ensaladas
Very early in my Mexican adventure, I came face to face with fiestas
and delectable food and the joyous celebration that works the two
together. In the capital, I’d found my way through the narrow old
streets into the front door of Fonda las Cazuelas restaurant. I’d
114 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
moved past the glassed-in kitchen, with its massive mortars and
earth-brown clay cooking pots, into a ladder-back chair at a clothcovered table; the noisy dining room always seemed ready to burst
apart with each blast of the mariachi’s trumpet. A plate of appetizers
came, then my first taste of thick and foamy pulque (fermented juice
of the maguey plant), or perhaps little shots of tequila and the spicy
sangrita chaser. The tables were set for ten, fifteen, twenty-five, and
we all bit into our appetizer-size masa turnovers with special relish;
we made thick, soft tacos from golden-brown pork carnitas, from
guacamole, from cactus salad and crisp pork rind. We ordered more
of it all, with more to drink. And only later on that holiday afternoon
did we think about a chicken leg in red or green mole, chiles rellenos
or flan and cinnamon-flavored sweet coffee.
They set out an entremés (or, as it’s often called, entremés
ranchero—“ranch-style appetizer”) in other Mexico City restaurants,
I discovered; in fact, they put together good starters most anyplace
where there’s something to celebrate. Sunday afternoons we ate
nothing but entremeses, it seemed, when we went for pit-cooked lamb
out south of the capital. For birthdays, we went to Mexico City’s elegant Hacienda de los Morales and enjoyed the savory masa boats
(sopes) while sitting in the courtyard. On the coasts, we got the
cocktails of mixed seafood, or the seviches, or the shredded fish or
crab preparations called machacas or salpicones. In the North, it was
always a plate of melted cheese with peppers and chorizo to start off
a roast-kid dinner. And in mountainous Chiapas, there were plates
of ham, allspice-flavored sausage (butifarra), blood sausage and locally made cheese. They are all delicious, hearty and varied, and, like
many of our appetizers, they are reserved for special meals—when
the commonplace preliminary bowl of soup (that every good Mexican wife and mother includes in a “proper” meal) can be overlooked.
Mexico also offers a collection of highly prized entremeses for the
adventurous: beautiful gratinГ©ed crepes with the black corn mushrooms (huitlacoche) or squash blossoms in the elegant restaurants of
Central Mexico; salads of smoked gar (pejelagarto) in Tabasco; crispfried maguey worms in Puebla; toasted grasshoppers in Oaxaca;
tiny fresh-water lobsterettes (acosiles) in Toluca; fried minnowlike
charales in Michoacán; and the abundant pickled pigs’ feet and pork
rind in the West-Central states. It easily goes on and on, because
every area has something special for fiesta.
There is—or was—a great tradition in the pulque parlors and cantinas of deliciously spicy botanas (literally “corks” or “stoppers”) for
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 115
the patrons to enjoy. Though that isn’t my territory, I go for the
similar nibbles they sell on the streets—mostly on weekends, at night
or during fiestas: the pumpkinseeds and chile-coated peanuts, the
spears of cucumber or slabs of jГ­cama with lime and chile, the fruit
salads. And, of course, the myriad masa snacks that are known as
antojitos. In their own ways, all of them can be brought in from the
street or taco stands and put out as appetizers on a well-set table.
Out-and-out first courses—a small portion of just about anything,
coming before the main course—doesn’t really fit into the formal
Mexican meal, for it would have to usurp the place of the prized
soup. But for a special occasion (or simply when it seems appropriate), it’s always possible to slip in a little entremés first.
And a salad? If you’re a health-conscious Mexican you might want
to have one for a lunch or supper, as they do in other parts of the
world. Most Mexicans I know, however, have their only salad
sprinkled on their tacos or other snacks; and if you calculate it out,
I think you’d find they eat a fair amount of salad indeed.
I’ve included in this chapter a couple of the very few traditional
salads. I have refrained, however, from tackling the baroque
Christmas Eve salad of beets, jГ­cama, radish, banana, lettuce and
numerous other ingredients that don’t really seem to go together;
some cooks surely make it, but I’ve not met them. Cookbooks from
Mexico always list a number of European- and North American—sounding salads, but they have no place in the country’s public
food. Nontraditionally, however, I like to serve simple green salads
with many of my Mexican meals, so I’ve worked up several distinctive dressings I think go well with the traditional flavors of other
dishes. You’ll find them at the end of the chapter.
Recipes from other chapters that work well as appetizers, first
courses and salads: all the soups, of course, and the lighter antojitos,
plus Fish Adobado in Cornhusks, Oysters in Escabeche, Chiles Rellenos,
Chunky Guacamole, Cactus-Paddle Salad, Pickled Vegetables with
Chiles.
MELTED CHEESE WITH
ROASTED PEPPERS AND
CHORIZO
Queso Fundido con Rajas y Chorizo
Topped with roasted peppers and aged chorizo, the melted cheese
116 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
is a simple, perfect filling for flour tortillas; it can be your main course
for a light meal, or it fits in before Steak a la TampiqueГ±a, with a sweet
fruit ice for dessert.
It’s a famous Northern dish (especially in Monterrey, where they
call it queso flameado) and it’s served up in eating places that feature
glowing grills for the slow, smoky roasting of cabrito (“kid”) and the
quick melting of cheese in shallow earthenware plates. There, the
cheese is a flavorful queso asadero (“broiling cheese”) that is stringy
like mozzarella when melted. The dish is popular in Northern-style
taquerГ­as throughout the country, though, and just about any of the
good Mexican melting cheeses will be used.
YIELD: enough to fill 6 to 8 flour tortillas, serving 4 to 6 as an appet-
izer, 2 to 3 as a light main course
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
ВЅ small onion, thinly sliced
1 fresh chile poblano, roasted and peeled, seeded and sliced
into thin strips
4 ounces (ВЅ cup) chorizo sausage, store-bought or homemade,
casing removed
8 ounces (2 heaping cups) melting cheese like mozzarella
and/or Monterey Jack, cut into ВЅ-inch cubes
1. Heating the pan. Turn the oven on to 375В° and set an 8- to 9-inch
pie pan or gratin dish in the lower third to heat while you prepare
the toppings.
2. The chiles and chorizo. In a medium-small skillet, heat half the oil
over medium. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently,
until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the pepper
strips, cook several minutes until they’re softening, then scoop the
mixture into a small bowl. Measure the remaining oil into the skillet
and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the chorizo and gently fry
until done, about 10 minutes, breaking up any clumps as it cooks.
Drain off excess fat and set the skillet aside.
3. Melting the cheese. Remove the hot pan from the oven and spread
the cheese cubes in a shallow layer over the bottom. Bake for about
10 minutes, until the cheese is just melted. Remove the pan from the
oven and sprinkle on the chile-onion mixture and the chorizo. Bake
for 4 or 5 more minutes to heat the vegetables and meat, then carry
the hot, bubbling queso fundido to the table for people to scoop into
warm flour tortillas, roll up and eat.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 117
Queso fundido
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Heating the Pan: The pan is heated so the cheese melts quickly and
evenly without overcooking.
Ingredients
Chile Poblano: Local or seasonal chiles are frequently utilized in this
dish: a couple of long green chiles or chiles chilacas can replace the
poblano.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The dish can be ready in about ВЅ hour. The cheese may be cubed in
advance, and the chile mixture and chorizo can be cooked; if
refrigerated, warm the latter two to room temperature before adding
to the cheese.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Queso Fundido with Roasted Peppers and Fresh Herbs: Prepare the
dish as directed, using a mixture of whole-milk mozzarella and
Monterey Jack or Italian Fontina cheese, and replacing the poblano with
red, yellow or long green peppers (roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced);
if desired, replace the chorizo with another flavorful sausage. Sprinkle
with chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, basil and the like) just
before serving.
LIME-MARINATED
MACKEREL WITH TOMATO
118 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
AND GREEN CHILE
Seviche de Sierra
To my tongue, there is nothing more refreshing than the clean, fresh
taste of seviche, whether it is made in the saucy, tomatoey Acapulco/west-coast style or with the chunky simplicity of the east-coast
versions. Because it is light and mild, seviche is a good way to ease
into the rich or spicy Mexican sauces. It’s good as picnic fare too
(kept in a cold thermos), or served in the backyard before a cookout.
My recipe for the classic mackerel seviche in fresh-tasting tomato
“sauce” is based on one published in Mexico’s Gastrotur magazine.
The less saucy versions are in the notes; they’re a little dressier since
they can be served on a lettuce-lined plate, but they’re also good
served simply on tostadas for a stand-up hors d’oeuvre.
YIELD:
about 4 cups, 6 servings
1 pound very fresh, boneless, skinless sierra or other fish fillets
(see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
1 cup freshly squeezed (not bottled) lime juice (roughly 6 to
8 limes)
ВЅ medium onion, finely diced
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, cored and chopped into Вј-inch
dice
16 to 20 meaty, flavorful green olives (preferably medium
manzanillos), pitted and roughly chopped
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
or parsley
1 cup good-quality tomato juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Sugar, about 1 teaspoon (optional)
Sprigs of fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley, or some diced
avocado, for garnish
1. Marinating the fish. Run your finger down the groove in the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 119
center of each fillet, feeling for the stubby ends of tiny rib bones. To
remove them, run a sharp knife along the groove just to one side of
the bones, cutting the fillets in half lengthwise. Then, from the halves
containing the stubby ends, cut off the thin strips of flesh in which
the bones are embedded and discard them. Cut the fillets into
3
/8-inch cubes and place in a noncorrosive bowl.
Pour the lime juice over the fish, mix thoroughly, cover with a
sheet of plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the fish, and
refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight, to “cook” the fish. To ascertain if
the fish is ready, break apart a cube of fish: If it is still raw-looking
inside, it needs to marinate longer.
2. Finishing the seviche. Shortly before you are planning to serve,
drain the fish thoroughly. Mix in the chopped onion, tomato, olives,
green chile, fresh coriander or parsley, tomato juice, oil and oregano.
Season with salt and the optional sugar, cover and refrigerate until
serving time.
When you are ready to serve, spoon a portion of the seviche into
each of 6 small bowls. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander, sprigs
of parsley or diced avocado.
Mexican lime juicer
120 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Filleting and Skinning Fish: See the notes.
Ingredients
The Fish: Sierra is in the mackerel family, closely related to Spanish
mackerel and king-fish; either can be substituted. Alternately, you can
choose practically any meaty saltwater fish like striped bass, grouper
(sea bass on the West Coast), and halibut or fluke (a large flounder).
Most critical is that your fish be impeccably fresh.
Timing and Advance Preparation
You need to start at least 4 hours ahead, though I highly recommend
letting most any fish marinate overnight (or up to 2 days). The
remaining preparation requires less than ВЅ hour and should be
completed shortly before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Seviche for Tostadas: Chop the fish into tiny pieces, then marinate it
as described. Finish according to the directions, reducing the tomato
juice to a tablespoon or two and the oil to 1 tablespoon.
Shrimp Seviche: For less saucy seviche, chop 1 pound raw shrimp
(peeled and deveined) into ВЅ-inch pieces; marinate for 12 hours in the
lime juice, mixed with ВЅ red onion (chopped) and ВЅ teaspoon each
coarsely ground allspice and black peppercorns. Drain, mix in 1 jalapeГ±o
(chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), 2
teaspoons vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Toss with salt and 1
avocado (peeled, pitted and cubed), and serve on leaves of lettuce.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Scallop Seviche with Chipotle: Marinate 1 pound bay scallops with
red onion and spices as described in the shrimp seviche variation. Drain,
mix in 2 canned chipotle peppers (seeded and chopped), a little fresh
oregano, 2 teaspoons vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Toss with
salt and 1 avocado (peeled, pitted and cubed).
Kitchen Spanish
I use the spelling seviche because it is common and sanctioned by the
Diccionario de mejicanismos. It may be true, as the late Mexican
gastronome Amando Farga claimed, that Captain Vasco NГєГ±ez de
Balboa discovered it in the South Seas in 1513 and christened it the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 121
homophonous cebiche, from cebar (“to penetrate”); but that still doesn’t
affect the fact that it’s generally spelled seviche.
SHREDDED-BEEF SALAD
WITH AVOCADO AND
CHILE CHIPOTLE
SalpicГіn de Res Poblano
They make incredibly good tortas of this salpicГіn at a snack shop in
colonial Puebla: a crackling-crisp bun full of meaty, shredded brisket
dressed with olive oil vinagreta and topped with smoky chipotle chiles,
a good slice of avocado and milky fresh cheese. In Mexico City, the
famed Fonda el Refugio restaurant beautifully arranges those same
basic components and serves them as a salady appetizer or a light
main course. That’s how I’ve chosen to present the delicious salpicón
here, and I can make a special meal out of it—especially in summer—with nothing more than Chile-Marinated Vegetable Tostadas
to start and a Creamy Fresh-Coconut Dessert.
YIELD: about 3 cups, serving 4 as an appetizer, 2 or 3 as a light main
course
For the meat mixture:
1 pound flank steak or brisket, well trimmed and cut into
2-inch squares
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered
1 fresh chile serrano (or ВЅ fresh chile jalapeГ±o), sliced (optional)
2 bay leaves
ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
Вј teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A generous ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, diced
2 small (about 6 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the
red-skinned ones, quartered
For the dressing:
122 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Вѕ cup olive oil
Вј cup cider vinegar
ВЅ teaspoon salt
Вј teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To finish the dish:
6 leaves romaine lettuce
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 canned chiles chipotles, halved and seeded
ВЅ cup (2 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh
cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
3 or 4 radish roses, for garnish
1. The meat. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan,
add the squares of meat and skim off any grayish foam that rises to
the top during the first few minutes of boiling. Add the garlic, optional chile, bay leaves, herbs, pepper, salt and half of the onion, and
simmer over medium to medium-low heat for an hour or so, until
the meat is tender. If there is time, let cool in the broth. Drain and
discard all but the meat; then shred the meat into long, thin strands.
2. The potatoes. While the meat is cooking, boil the potatoes in
salted water to cover until they are just tender, about 15 minutes.
Cool under running water, peel off the skins if you wish, then dice
into ВЅ-inch bits. Add to the meat, along with the remaining onion.
3. The dressing. Measure the dressing ingredients into a small bowl
or a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk or shake to thoroughly blend,
then pour 2/3 of the dressing over the meat mixture. Stir, cover and
let stand ВЅ hour.
4. Completing the dish. Just before serving, line a platter with 4 of
the romaine leaves; slice the remaining 2 to make a bed in the center.
Taste the meat-potato-onion salpicГіn for salt, then scoop it into a
mound over the sliced lettuce. Decorate with slices of avocado alternating with chile chipotle halves, then remix the rest of the dressing
and drizzle it over the whole affair. Sprinkle with the cheese, decorate
with the radish roses, and the salpicГіn is ready to serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 123
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Chipotles: These are what make the dish really sing; if they are
unavailable, substitute 4 pickled jalapeГ±os and 2 tablespoons chopped
fresh coriander (cilantro).
Timing and Advance Preparation
Beginning-to-end preparation time is about 2 hours, only about ВЅ hour
of it active. Though at its best when prepared shortly beforehand, the
dish may be completed through Step 3 a day ahead and refrigerated.
Let warm to room temperature before finishing Step 4; if the potatoes
have absorbed most of the dressing, mix up a little more to pour over
it all.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Yucatecan Dzik de Res: Prepare the meat as directed in Step 1, then
dice and add ВЅ medium red onion, 4 large radishes, hot green chile
to taste and 1 small tomato. Toss with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
coriander (cilantro), 6 tablespoons bitter orange juice and salt to taste.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Beef and JГ­cama SalpicГіn: Prepare the recipe through Step 3, omitting
the potatoes and adding, along with the onion in Step 2, 1 cup
matchstick-cut jГ­cama, 4 sliced radishes and 1/3 cup diced green onion.
Serve on lettuce leaves garnished with the diced chipotle and drizzled
with the remaining dressing.
Kitchen Spanish
In Spanish, salpicón means “hodgepodge,” or “splash” or “spatter.”
In the Mexican kitchen, that translates as a mixture with shredded
beef or chicken in Central Mexico, shredded beef and eggs in Acapulco,
well-seasoned shredded crab on the east coast, shredded venison with
bitter orange juice in Tabasco, even a spicy condiment mixture in
YucatГЎn.
MIXED VEGETABLE SALAD
WITH LIME DRESSING
Ensalada Mixta
There are times when arugula, mâche and radicchio don’t have the
124 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
appeal of a homey, Mexican mixed-vegetable salad laid out with
hard-boiled eggs, avocado and a sprinkling of fresh cheese. Something like it is served in most coffee shops and restaurants in the
country’s larger cities—where European colonialism is fully rooted.
“Salad” to the rest of Mexico is little more than the combination of
raw greens and vegetables that decorates tacos, enchiladas, pozole
and the like.
This simple, flexible recipe can accommodate most anything that
might be on hand. While the typical Mexican vegetable-cooking
method is boiling, I’ve found it easier to steam here. This salad is
delicious and beautiful served before Fish with Peppers and Cream.
YIELD:
about 6 cups, 6 servings
About 2 cups (total) of any or all of the following:
Carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally 1/8 inch thick
Small boiling potatoes like the red-skinned ones, sliced 1/8
inch thick
Beets, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
About 2 cups (total) of any or all of the following:
Green beans, ends snipped and cut in half
Peas, fresh or (defrosted) frozen
About 2 cups (total) of any or all of the following:
Radishes, stem- and root-ends removed, sliced paper-thin
Cucumbers, peeled, seeded (if desired) and sliced 1/8 inch
thick
Tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
ВЅ cup vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
ВЅ teaspoon salt
A generous Вј teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1ВЅ tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) or
flat-leaf parsley (optional)
For the garnish:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 125
6 leaves romaine or leaf lettuce
1 small bunch of watercress, large stems removed (optional)
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 thick slice of red onion, broken into rings
2 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh
cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese (optional)
1. The vegetables. In a large saucepan, set up a vegetable steamer
over an inch of water and set over medium-high heat. When the
water begins to boil, place the prepared carrots, potatoes and/or
beets in separate shallow piles on the steamer rack. (If using beets,
keep them away from the others, or you’ll have a lot of red vegetables.) Steam, tightly covered, until the vegetables are tender but
still retain a little firmness, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on their cut
and condition. If one vegetable is done before the others, remove it
with a large spoon or tongs. Cool the vegetables in separate groupings on a large tray.
Next, steam the green beans and/or fresh peas, tightly covered:
5 to 8 minutes for beans, anywhere from 4 to 20 minutes for the peas
(depending on their size and freshness). When the green vegetables
are done, remove them and cool with the other vegetables. Frozen
peas need only be defrosted and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the radishes, cucumbers and/or tomatoes with the well-drained, cooked vegetables.
2. The dressing. A few minutes before serving, measure the lime
juice, oil, salt, pepper and optional fresh coriander or parsley into a
small bowl or a jar with tight-fitting lid; whisk or shake until thoroughly blended. Pour onto the vegetables and mix well.
3. Garnish and presentation. Line a large serving platter with lettuce
leaves. Once again, toss the vegetable mixture with the dressing,
then scoop it onto the platter. Garnish the edges with the optional
watercress. Top with slices of hard-boiled egg, rings of red onion,
and a sprinkling of the optional fresh cheese.
126 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
The time involved depends on the number of vegetables you choose
and how quickly you can prepare them: Allow about 1 hour. The
cooked vegetables may be prepared a day ahead, the raw vegetables
several hours in advance. Dress the salad at serving time.
SPICY JГЌCAMA SALAD
WITH TANGERINES AND
FRESH CORIANDER
Ensalada de JГ­cama
Jícama—the large, bulbous, woody-looking root vegetable—has
something of a raw potato texture and a slightly sweet apple taste.
And when it’s one of the small (¾-pound) fresh-dug variety that
comes out in the fall, it needs nothing more than the street vendor’s
squeeze of lime and sprinkling of salt and hot chile powder. In WestCentral Mexico, restaurants sometimes offer jГ­cama prepared with
orange and cilantro (pico de gallo), and everywhere in the Republic
the street-side fruit-salad sellers mix it with cantaloupe, watermelon,
papaya and the like.
The refreshing recipe that follows is from a street vendor in
MГ©rida, YucatГЎn; it goes well with other Yucatecan dishes like
Stacked Tortillas with Shark and Tomato Sauce or Chicken Pibil and
white rice.
6 to 8 cups (depending on the ingredients chosen), 6 to 8
servings
YIELD:
1 small (1-pound) jГ­cama, peeled and cut into Вѕ-inch cubes
ВЅ cup bitter orange juice
Вј teaspoon salt
1 red-skinned apple, cored and cut into Вѕ-inch cubes (optional)
ВЅ small cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into Вѕ-inch cubes
(optional)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 127
3 tangerines, peeled, broken into sections and, if you wish,
seeds cut out
About 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander
(cilantro)
Powdered dried chile, about 1 teaspoon (see Ingredients in
Cook’s Notes)
2 or 3 small leaves romaine lettuce, for garnish
1. Marinating the jГ­cama. Place the jГ­cama in a large non-corrosive
bowl, pour in the bitter orange juice and sprinkle with salt. Toss
well, cover and let stand at room temperature for an hour or so.
2. Finishing the salad. About 15 minutes before serving, add the
apple, cantaloupe, tangerines and fresh coriander to the bowl and
mix thoroughly. Toss the mixture every few minutes until time to
serve. Season with powdered chile, and add more salt and fresh
coriander, if desired. Toss one final time and scoop the salad into a
serving dish lined with romaine leaves.
JГ­cama
128 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
JГ­cama: If none is available, you can make a nice salad (though one
that lacks the gentle sweetness and open crunchy texture) by
substituting small fresh turnips and/or daikon radish.
Powdered Dried Chile: JГ­cama gets sprinkled with the fiery-hot
powdered chile seco in YucatГЎn and chile de ГЎrbol most everywhere else.
I like to use the less-hot powdered New Mexico or California chiles,
then add a little cayenne to bring up the heat level.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The dish should be started 1ВЅ hours before serving, though you will
spend only about ВЅ hour actively working on it.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Pico de Gallo: This West-Central version of jГ­cama salad is named
“rooster’s beak” because everything is chopped up. Marinate the jícama
in Вј cup lime juice and a little salt. Toss with 2 small seedless oranges
(segmented and cubed), fresh coriander and powdered chile. I’ve also
had an elegant version of sliced jГ­cama laid out on a platter, alternating
and overlapping with rounds of orange and cucumber; the whole
assemblage was sprinkled with lime, coriander and chile.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Cress and JГ­cama Salad: Cut ВЅ small jГ­cama and an equal portion
daikon radish into matchsticks, and marinate in the bitter orange juice.
Drain, reserving the juice. Blend together half the juice, an equal portion
of olive oil and ВЅ chile serrano. Toss with jГ­cama mixture, a large bunch
of cress (large stems removed) and a little chopped fresh coriander.
NONTRADITIONAL
SALAD DRESSINGS
AVOCADO DRESSING
YIELD:
1
about 1 /3 cups
This thick, creamy dressing is just right for raw or blanched vegetables or over firmer lettuces like romaine.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 129
ВЅ ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1ВЅ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1ВЅ tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2
/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg yolk
The green top of 1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cream
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Combine the avocado, lime juice, vinegar, coriander, garlic and oil
in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Whisk the
yolk in a medium-size bowl until broken up, then slowly whisk in
the avocado mixture, about a tablespoon at a time, to achieve a light
mayonnaise consistency. Add the green onion and cream, then season with salt. Cover and refrigerate; if it becomes too thick during
storage, whisk in a little more cream.
Hass avocado
ROASTED GARLIC
DRESSING
YIELD:
about Вѕ cup
This simple vinegar-and-oil dressing goes beautifully with mixed
fresh greens or matchsticks of jГ­cama tossed with watercress and red
onion. The rich-tasting Italian balsamic vinegar really enhances the
roasted garlic flavor; look for it at any specialty food shop.
130 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
3 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2
/3 cup olive oil
Вј teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The garlic. Roast the garlic on a griddle or heavy skillet over
medium heat, turning occasionally until blackened in spots and soft,
about 15 minutes. Cool, then slip off the skin.
2. The dressing. Combine the garlic and the rest of the ingredients
in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Taste for
salt. Cover and store at room temperature.
LIME-CILANTRO DRESSING
about 1 cup
This tart, creamy dressing is as tasty on a tossed salad of mixed
lettuces as it is on steamed mixed vegetables.
YIELD:
Two 2-inch strips of lime zest (green rind only), Вј inch wide
2ВЅ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
ВЅ fresh chile serrano, seeded and roughly chopped
1ВЅ tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
2
/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons crumbled feta (or “natural”—no gum—cream)
cheese
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
cheese)
In a blender, whiz all ingredients until smooth. Taste for salt. Cover
and refrigerate.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 131
fresh coriander (cilantro)
LIGHT AND HEARTY SOUPS
Sopas, Caldos, Pozoles y Menudos
Mexican soups are a delicious, homemade-tasting, justly renowned
lot of nourishment. By mixing the flavorful broth from the everstewing bird, pig or steer with the pulpy puree of good tomatoes,
garlic and onions, Mexican cooks have created a delicious base for
a brilliant variety—from cactus paddle to wild mushroom, from the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 133
ubiquitous vermicelli to soups thick with cheese. They’ve seasoned
their offerings with little bundles of fresh thyme, marjoram and bay
leaves brought from the markets and with large sprigs of leafy
epazote. And they’ve worked their special magic with a squirt of
fresh lime, slices of avocado, a little aromatic fresh coriander, sharp
raw onion or toasted dried chile. These are spectacular soups, for
people who love flavor and texture.
Soup—a big steaming bowl of soup—is an inextricable prelude to
a traditional Mexican meal: “Don’t you want a little soup to start?”
the waiters always ask when you’ve failed to order it. The homey
restaurant’s set-course comida corrida would be almost unimaginable
without at least one offering; most of the cookbooks plow immediately into dozens of soup recipes—perhaps with no reference to
other starters at all.
The most characteristic soup in Mexico, in my opinion, is the
classic sopa de tortilla: It shows the full range of traditional flavors
and contrasting textures. The common, Spanish-style toasted-garlic
soup plays a major role, too, as does the smoky-tasting vegetablechicken caldo tlalpeГ±o and the sprightly sopa xГіchitl, with its bouquet
of fresh condiments. And just about everywhere on the coasts (and
inland, too), the simple, Mexican-flavored fish and shellfish chowders
are popular: from fruits-of-the-sea sopa de mariscos and West-Coast
oyster stews, to the fish-filled caldo largo of Veracruz, the picante,
dark caldo de camarón (made with dried shrimp) that’s available in
several locales, and the Gulf Coast crab chilpachole I love so much.
Mexico’s favorite cream soup, undoubtedly, is made of fresh corn
and flecked with rich chile poblano.
The cooks of each region have developed their own soupy specialties with what is locally available and prized: The Yucatecan tortilla
soup (sopa de lima), is flavored with the fragrant lime called lima agria;
the Central/West-Central barbacoa sellers serve a rich broth (consomГ©)
they’ve collected from below their pit-roasting lamb or goat; Gulf,
Southern and Yucatecan Mexico like a black bean soup now and
again; Oaxacan cooks work up a popular broth with the squash-vine
runners (guГ­as); in Chiapas the specialty is a delicious, thick soup
studded with the herb chipilГ­n, corn and fresh cheese; in the North
it’s a comforting broth made with jerky or cheese; and throughout
Central Mexico it’s frequently an unctuous broth laden with marrow
(sopa de mГ©dula), or lenten soups of fava bean (caldo de habas) and
cactus paddles with egg (nopales navegantes).
And often in Mexico a large soup bowl holds the whole meal. In
134 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
the markets and pedestrian eateries the offerings are chanted: the
simple beef stew (caldo de res, or puchero in YucatГЎn) and one made
of chicken (caldo de pollo); a hearty soup-stew with red-chile broth
(mole de olla) for those in Central Mexico; or another with innards
(chocolomo), should you find yourself in Campeche.
One year, my friends gave me a traditional Guerrero-style birthday, starting shortly after dawn. Flowers were tacked around my
door and the chorus of “Las Mañanitas,” the early-morning birthday
song, pushed me out of bed and down to the kitchen for a shot of
mescal and a huge, seven o’clock festal bowl of pork and hominy
soup. The party could continue all day, I knew, with round after
round of pozole…of mescal; the folks in Guerrero could live exclusively on this nourishment, it seemed to me.
Pozole, like the beloved, hearty tripe soup menudo, really is something special: a beautiful one-bowl meal to serve when a crowd
comes, a rustic specialty to eat from the street stands at night or, in
the case of menudo, the morning after. Both soup-stews are informal,
high-spirited fiesta foods, like tamales, say, rather than the respectable
platter of celebratory mole. But of the two, pozole—in any of the national colors (white, red or green)—is my favorite. It offers more of
the contrasting textures—soft-cooked and crunchy-raw—and each
guest gets to doctor it up al gusto, as the Spanish saying goes.
In the pages that follow, there is a good selection of recipes for
traditional soups—both the lighter ones to serve before the main
course and the rustic classics to make a meal on. In Mexico, I often
find the portion of those lighter, meal-starting soups too large to
precede three more courses. To me, those portions seem just about
right to feature for an informal supper or winter lunch, together
with some of the delicious masa snacks.
For soup recipes in other chapters, see “Soups” in the Index.
Kitchen Spanish
North Americans are often confused when they see brothy soups
and rice listed together on menus under the heading “sopas.” The
former are the sopas aguadas (“liquid soups”), the latter sopas secas
(“dry soups”). Traditionally, “liquid” precedes “dry” in the comida;
here, though, I’ve broken them up for North American readers,
moving rice dishes in with vegetables. Perhaps (at the risk of
sounding simplistic) the initially brothy look of simmering rice explains the categorization.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 135
TOASTED TORTILLA SOUP
WITH FRESH CHEESE AND
CHILE PASILLA
Sopa de Tortilla
This is a quintessentially Mexican soup that’s composed in the nicer
cafeterГ­as and restaurants across the Republic. Its base is the familiar
broth from stewed chicken, plus crisp strips of tortillas and a bit of
toasted dried chile. What adorns it is a homey parade of whatever
is traditional or available: ingredients as simple as cubed fresh cheese
or chicken, or as luxurious as thick cream, squash blossoms,
chicharrones and avocado.
In small portions, this soup makes a nice beginning to a special
meal of Duck in Pumpkinseed PipiГЎn, Zucchini with Toasted Garlic
and Pecan Pie with Raw Sugar. Or add chicken and serve it as a
hearty main course.
YIELD:
6 to 7 cups, 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and
peeled
OR ВЅ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
1ВЅ quarts good broth, preferably poultry
Salt, the quantity will vary depending on the saltiness of the
broth
4 to 6 corn tortillas, preferably stale, store-bought ones
1
/3 cup vegetable oil
1 to 2 dried chiles pasillas, stemmed, seeded and deveined
8 ounces (about 2 cups) cubed Mexican queso fresco or other
fresh cheese like farmer’s cheese, or even Muenster or
Monterey Jack
1 large lime, cut into 4 to 6 wedges
1. The broth flavoring. In a medium-size skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of
the lard or oil over medium-low. Add the onion and whole garlic
136 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
cloves, and fry until both are a deep golden-brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Scoop into a blender jar or food processor, add the tomato and
process until smooth.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of lard or oil in the same skillet
over medium-high. When hot, add the tomato mixture and stir
constantly until thick and considerably darker, about 5 minutes.
Scrape into a large saucepan.
2. The broth. Stir the broth into the tomato mixture, partially cover
and simmer for ВЅ hour over medium-low heat. Season with salt.
3. The garnishing ingredients. If the tortillas are fresh or moist, let
them dry out for a few minutes in a single layer. Slice them in half,
then slice the halves crosswise into strips Вј inch thick. Heat the 1/3
cup vegetable oil in a medium-small skillet over medium-high. When
hot, add the tortilla strips and fry, turning frequently, until they are
crisp. Drain on paper towels. Cut the chiles into 1-inch squares and
fry in the hot oil very briefly, about 3 or 4 seconds; immediately remove and drain, then place in a small serving bowl.
4. Assembling the soup. Just before serving, divide the cheese among
4 to 6 bowls, and top with the fried tortilla strips. Ladle on the hot
soup and serve right away. Pass the toasted chile separately, along
with the lime (the juice of which brings out the flavors of the soup).
Tortilla soup with garnishes
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 137
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Frying Tortillas:.
Ingredients
Corn Tortillas:.
Chile Pasilla: This traditional Central Mexican addition becomes the
smoky chile pasilla oaxaqueГ±o in Oaxaca, the chile ancho in MichoacГЎn,
and perhaps other not-too-hot dried chiles in your kitchen; fry and
crumble the pods you find, but don’t be tempted by chile powder.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With broth on hand, the soup can be ready in less than 1 hour. It may
be prepared through Step 2 several days in advance, then covered and
refrigerated.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Tortilla Soup with Fresh Goat Cheese: Prepare the soup as directed,
doubling the tomatoes, replacing the vegetable oil with olive oil, adding
3 sprigs fresh thyme along with the broth and replacing the fresh
cheese with goat cheese.
Regional Explorations
This soup is found most commonly in Central and Southern Mexico,
where it may be called sopa azteca (or sopa tarasca in MichoacГЎn). In
YucatГЎn, a similar soup is called sopa de lima because it is served with
lima agria (“bitter” lima).
GARBANZO-VEGETABLE SOUP
WITH SMOKY BROTH AND
FRESH AVOCADO
Caldo TlalpeГ±o
First, there is smoke and the prickle of picante; then meaty, mealy
garbanzos and earthy root vegetables; finally, calming broth and
the soothing bits of oily avocado. It’s a soup with the savoriness of
the vegetable-studded broth that collects below pit-roasted barbacoa—the broth that was likely the inspiration for caldo tlalpeño.
This recipe, based on the version served at the Bola Roja restaurant
138 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
in Puebla, makes a good first course before Beef Tips a la Mexicana
or Fish with Toasted Garlic. Or serve large bowls for a main course,
with Deep-Fried Masa Turnovers (quesadillas).
YIELD:
about 2ВЅ quarts, 6 generous servings
2 quarts good chicken broth
1 large (1Вј-pound), whole chicken breast
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
One 15-ounce can garbanzos (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 sprig epazote (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
Salt, the quantity will vary depending on the saltiness of the
broth
Canned chiles chipotles to taste (roughly 1 to 2 chiles), seeded
and thinly sliced
1 ripe, medium avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges
1. The broth. Place the broth and chicken in a 4-quart saucepan and
bring to a simmer over medium heat. Skim off any grayish foam
that rises during the first few minutes of simmering, add the herbs,
cover and simmer 13 minutes.
Remove the chicken breast, skin and bone it, then tear the meat
into thick shreds and set aside. Strain the broth and skim off all the
fat that rises to the top.
2. Finishing the soup. Wash the pan, set it over medium heat, and
add the lard or oil, onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally,
until the onions begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic
and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, garbanzos and epazote,
partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt.
3. Garnishing the soup. Just before serving, add the chile and
shredded chicken to the simmering soup. Let them heat through,
then ladle the soup into bowls, top with diced avocado, and serve
accompanied by wedges of lime.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 139
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Simmering Picante Chiles in Soups: If you add the chile much before
serving, the piquancy can increase so that a once-mild broth can pack
a walloping punch.
Ingredients
Epazote: The bitter herb adds another dimension to the soup, but it
can be omitted; the results are still very good.
Chiles Chipotles: Without them this soup really loses something. If
canned chiles are unavailable, dried ones (toasted and soaked) are an
option, should you find them. Or prepare the sopa xГіchitl variation.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If the broth is on hand, the soup takes ВЅ hour to make and ВЅ hour to
simmer. It may be prepared through Step 2 a couple of days ahead;
refrigerate the broth and chicken separately, both well covered.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Sopa XГіchitl: To prepare this soup named for the Aztec goddess of
flowers, complete the recipe through Step 2, omitting the carrots and
adding 2 tablespoons raw rice with the broth. When ready to serve,
add the chicken and a handful of squash blossoms (cleaned of all the
stamens), if you have them; simmer several minutes, until the blossoms
are tender. Garnish with diced avocado, a little chopped fresh
coriander, chopped raw onion, chopped fresh jalapeГ±o and a wedge
of tomato.
Kitchen Spanish
After years of searching, I still haven’t discovered how this soup got
its name. There seems a thread of connection, though, between the
Mexico City suburb of Tlalpan, its famous barbacoa sellers and the
meaning of the Nahuatl word tlalpan (“on land”).
FRESH CORN CHOWDER
WITH ROASTED PEPPERS
Crema de Elote
With its smooth, rich texture punctuated with bits of green chile and
sharp fresh cheese, this was the most popular soup I served while I
140 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
was chef of Lopez y Gonzalez restaurant in Cleveland. Its richness
goes well before Charcoal-Grilled Chicken, with fresh fruit ice or
Pecan Pie with Raw Sugar for dessert.
A rather plain-tasting bowl of this chowder is ubiquitous in
Mexican cafeterías, largely because Campbell’s can be purchased
everywhere. A homemade version, however, seems to be listed most
frequently on comida corrida menus in Central and West-Central
Mexico.
YIELD:
about 1 quart, 4 servings
3 large ears fresh sweet corn
OR 2ВЅ to 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
ВЅ medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1ВЅ tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk, plus a little more if necessary
2 fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled, seeded and finely
diced
1 cup Thick Cream or whipping cream
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
ВЅ cup (2 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh
cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Preparing the corn. For fresh corn, husk and remove all of the
corn silk, then cut the kernels from each cob with a sharp knife;
transfer to a blender or food processor. Scrape all the remaining bits
of corn from the cobs, using the end of a spoon and add to the rest.
There should be between 2ВЅ and 3 cups of corn. Simply place defrosted frozen corn in the blender or processor.
2. The corn puree. Heat half of the butter in a small skillet over medium. Add the onion and fry until soft, 6 or 7 minutes, then stir in
the garlic and cook a minute longer. Scrape the mixture into the corn
in the blender or processor, along with the cornstarch and Вј cup
water. Process until smooth. (With a blender, you’ll have to pulse
the machine and stir the contents several times—but do not add
more liquid; there is enough moisture in the corn once the blades
can get at it.)
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-large
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 141
saucepan set over medium heat. Add the corn puree and stir constantly for several minutes, until quite thick.
3. Finishing the soup. Whisk in the milk, partially cover and simmer
15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often.
When the soup is ready, strain it through a medium-mesh sieve.
Rinse out the pan, return the strained soup to it and stir in the diced
chile poblano and cream. Season with salt and simmer over mediumlow heat for 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
When you are ready to serve, thin the soup with additional milk
if it is thicker than heavy cream, then ladle into small, warm soup
bowls. Garnish with the fresh cheese and chopped parsley, and serve
at once.
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Sweet Corn and Mexican Field Corn: Because sweet corn isn’t popular
in Mexico, the soup is traditionally made with non-sweet field corn,
which has enough natural starch to thicken the soup. I’ve adapted this
recipe from Recetario mexicano del maГ­z, substituting sweet corn, though
the taste is obviously sweeter. Field-corn soup—no sugar added—tastes
a little like one made from potatoes.
Chile Poblano: Three long green chiles can be substituted for the
poblanos, though their flavor isn’t as pronounced.
Timing and Advance Preparation
This soup takes only about 45 minutes. Though best when just made,
it keeps for several days, covered and refrigerated; reheat slowly,
thinning with additional milk, if necessary.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Corn Soup with Various Flavors: A large tomato (peeled and diced)
can go in with the chiles; all or half of the milk may be replaced with
chicken broth.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Corn Soup with Shrimp: Prepare the recipe using 1 red and 1 poblano
pepper (both roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced); add 1 tomato (peeled
and diced) along with the peppers. Just before serving, add 6 ounces
shrimp (peeled, deveined and diced), cook 2 or 3 minutes, then serve
garnished with crumbled goat cheese or feta.
142 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
SPICY CRAB SOUP
Chilpachole de Jaiba
Jaibas, the little live blue crabs, come to the Veracruz market tied
into bundles, ready for boiling, picking and stuffing, or for stewing
into a rich-tasting, spicy chilpachole. This recipe, given to me by a
waitress in Veracruz, is one of the least complicated I know; I think
its simplicity (and the bit of chipotle pepper) best shows off the crab.
For a special dinner, serve it before Green Pumpkinseed Mole; or
more simply, serve it with Picadillo Turnovers.
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ quarts, 4 to 6 servings
8 medium (2 to 2ВЅ pounds total) live blue crabs (see
Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 ripe, medium-small tomatoes, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled
and roughly chopped
OR one 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
ВЅ small onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sprig epazote (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
Canned chiles chipotles to taste (roughly 1 to 2 chiles), seeded
and chopped
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1 to 2 limes, cut into wedges
1. Cooking the crabs. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a soup pot or
kettle, drop in the crabs and quickly set the lid in place. Once the
water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium. After 5 minutes,
the crabs should have changed from their mottled blue to a brilliant
red; if not, let them cook a minute or two longer. Remove the crabs
to a tray and set the broth aside in its pan.
2. Cleaning the crabs. First, remove the crab bodies from the shells:
Working with one crab, break off all the legs and claws where they
join the body, then pry back the small pointed flap (the “apron”) on
the underside and break it off. Grasp the outer shell and, with your
other hand, take hold of the body itself—your thumb at the front
where the eyes are, your fingers at the back where you broke off the
flap. Pry the two apart. If there is any orange-colored roe sticking
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 143
to the shell, scrape it into a bowl; place the body in a second bowl,
and the legs, unwashed shell and flap in a third; crack the claws and
add them to the bowl with the roe. Continue with the remaining
crabs.
Next, remove the meat from each body: With a small spoon, scrape
off any roe that is sticking to the bodies and add it to what you’ve
already collected. Pull off and discard the white fingerlike gills (also
called “dead-man’s-fingers”) that are attached to each side. Break
the bodies in half, then pick out the lump of crab meat that is attached
toward the front of each half, inside where the claws joined the body.
Stand the body halves on their sides (on the joints where the legs
were attached) and split them in half, exposing the meat inside. Use
your finger or a small pick to run between the quill-like filaments
and fish out the crab meat. Add it to the bowl with the roe, being
careful to remove any bits of chipped shell or filament.
Add the picked bodies to the bowl with the shells.
3. Finishing the broth. Add the bowl of picked shells to the broth,
cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Strain
through a fine-mesh sieve, set the broth aside and discard the shells.
Wash and dry the pan.
4. The soup base. Roast the unpeeled garlic on an ungreased griddle
or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until the
cloves are soft and blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. When cool
enough to handle, slip them out of their skins and place them in a
blender or food processor with the tomatoes and onion. Process
until smooth.
Heat the olive oil in the soup pot or kettle over medium-high.
When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add
it all at once. Stir nearly constantly for about 4 minutes, as the puree
sears and thickens. Then add the broth and the epazote, cover and
simmer gently over medium-low heat for 30 to 45 minutes.
5. Finishing the soup. About 15 minutes before serving, remove the
epazote and skim off any fat that is floating on the broth. Stir in the
chopped chipotles, re-cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with
salt.
Finally, add the crab meat, claws and any roe. Cover and let the
crab heat in the broth for about 5 minutes. Ladle up bowl-fuls for
your guests, each with bits of crabmeat and several of the claws to
be fished out and picked at the table. Pass the lime wedges for the
guests to squeeze into the soup to suit their own tastes.
144 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Simmering Chile in Soups:.
Ingredients
Live Blue Crabs: Live blue crabs are available in many ethnic markets
(especially Oriental ones); choose lively ones and cook them the day
you buy them. If they are unavailable, you may substitute 1 large
Dungeness crab: If it is alive, boil, clean and pick it as you would the
blue crabs. A frozen one will be cooked; simply defrost it, clean and
pick it, then use the shells to make your broth (Step 3). Another
possibility is to use 6 ounces of crab meat and 4 to 6 crab legs, but the
broth won’t be as rich unless you substitute 1½ quarts fish broth for
the crab broth in Step 4.
Epazote: When the herb is unavailable, either omit it, add several
sprigs of flat-leaf parsley (not to give the same flavor, but to give some
flavor) or sprinkle a little oregano into the broth as it is simmering.
Chiles Chipotles: Other chiles are frequently used: the small dried
japoneses (or other hot dried chiles), or hot green chiles like the jalapeГ±o.
Use them in small quantities: If dried, soak in hot water, then puree
with the soup base (Step 4); if fresh, seed and add to the blender.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Depending on your crab-picking speed, the soup can take from 1 to 2
hours, plus an additional 1ВЅ hours of simmering. It may be prepared
a day in advance, through Step 4: Refrigerate the broth and the
crabmeat and legs separately, both covered.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Chicken Chilpachole: In Puebla and vicinity, they prepare the soup
by poaching a chicken, then using the broth in place of the crab broth
in Step 4. They serve whole pieces of chicken in the soup, though it’s
easier to eat when the chicken is served in boneless chunks.
Shrimp Chilpachole: Prepare the soup beginning at Step 4, substituting
fish broth for the crab broth. Peel and devein about 1 pound shrimp
(though in Mexico it’s common to serve this rustic soup with unshelled
shrimp), then cook them in the broth for a few (roughly 3 to 6) minutes
just before serving.
Regional Explorations
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 145
All around the Gulf Coast, from Alvarado, Veracruz, to Tampico, crabs
are generally the first choice for making chilpacholes. (In Tampico the
crab broth is thickened with masa and the soup is called chimpachole.)
In some places the cooks replace crab with fish or shrimp, and in
Puebla there’s even a chicken chilpachole offered.
146 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Shrimp-Ball Soup with Roasted Pepper and Tomato
SHRIMP-BALL SOUP
WITH ROASTED PEPPER
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 147
AND TOMATO
Sopa de AlbГіndigas de CamarГіn
The simple Mexican flavors of this west-coast specialty are clean
and invitingly uncomplicated. The soup is substantial—just the kind
of thing to serve before some simple Crispy-Fried Tacos or Enchiladas
Suizas; ripe, aromatic Strawberries with Cream would be my choice
for dessert.
Along Mexico’s upper west coast, near Topolobampo in the Sea
of CortГ©s, shrimp are so plentiful that the cooks use them to fill up
soups, to shred for taco fillings and to grind for shrimp balls or cakes.
This is a recipe for the latter, which re-creates a delicious version I
had in MazatlГЎn; it is a combination of recipes I found in several
Spanish-language publications.
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ quarts, 4 servings
8 ounces shrimp, well chilled
Вј small onion, very finely chopped
Вј ripe, medium-large tomato, cored, seeded and finely
chopped
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons flour
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
A generous ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fresh chile poblano, roasted and peeled, seeded and
sliced into thin strips 1 inch long
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled
and roughly chopped
OR ВЅ 15-ounce can tomatoes, well drained and roughly
chopped
About 4ВЅ cups (ВЅ recipe) fish broth
Salt, about Вѕ teaspoon
Вј cup loosely packed, roughly chopped fresh coriander
(cilantro)
1 to 2 limes, quartered
148 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1. The shrimp mixture. Peel the shrimp and devein them by running
a knife down the back to expose the dark intestinal track and
scraping it out. Chop them finely: To chop by hand, use a large,
sharp knife to cut the shrimp in small bits, then rock and chop,
working the knife back and forth for several minutes, until the
shrimp forms a coarse-textured paste. For machine chopping, either
run the shrimp through the meat grinder fitted with the fine plate
or use a food processor to chop the shrimp into a coarse puree (do
it in two lots, pulsing 4 to 5 times for each lot). Place the shrimp in
a mixing bowl.
Add the onion, tomato, egg yolk, flour, oregano and salt, and mix
thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to finish the
soup.
2. The broth. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium. Add
the onion and fry until just browning, about 7 minutes. Add the
chile strips and tomato and fry for 3 or 4 minutes longer to reduce
the liquid a little.
Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes over
medium-low heat to blend the flavors. Season with salt.
3. Finishing the soup. Fifteen minutes before serving, poach the
shrimp in the gently simmering broth: Drop in rounded tablespoons
of the shrimp mixture, simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from the fire.
Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped coriander. Serve with the lime wedges on the side.
Pozole bowl and condiment dishes, guerrero
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 149
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Chopping Shrimp: Warm shrimp will turn to mush, so be sure that
they are well chilled. I prefer to chop the shrimp with a sharp knife,
simply because I like the even, coarse texture that the knife cuts give.
Ingredients
The Right Ones: All the ingredients need to be the best
quality—especially the fish broth. The soup is a combination of simple
flavors and every one must shine.
Shrimp: Here is a good place to use the small shrimp, if you have the
patience to peel and devein them. If shrimp are unavailable or
prohibitively expensive, you might want to substitute scallops or a
gelatinous fish like monk fish.
Chile Poblano: Though a poblano is the best flavor for the soup, 2 large,
long green chiles would be my second choice.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If the fish broth is ready, you’ll need 45 minutes to prepare the soup.
The brothy soup base (Step 2) can be prepared a day or two ahead,
covered and refrigerated; prepare and cook the shrimp balls just before
serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Tortas de CamarГіn Fresco: On the west coast of Mexico you often find
the shrimp mixture formed into cakes, dredged in flour or crumbs
and fried. They can be served as is, with hot sauce and a salad, or with
about 1ВЅ cups Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce, or with the sauce
used for Fish a la Veracruzana.
PORK, CHICKEN AND
HOMINY SOUP WITH
GROUND PUMPKINSEEDS
Pozole Verde
Through the steeply mountainous terrain of Guerrero, from Acapulco
up through Taxco, Thursday is green pozole day, a day to close up
shop in midafternoon and adjourn to small pozole “restaur-
150 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
ants”—many of them only makeshift arrangements of tables and
chairs that go public only this one day a week. The big earthernware
bowls they serve are thick with hominy and redolent with ground
pumpkinseeds and rich herbs—without exception, my favorite of
the pozoles. We ate it once, back in the winding streets above Tixtla,
with botanas (“drinking snacks”) of tender sliced tongue and the region’s famous little crispy tortilla boats (chalupitas) with sweet-sour
pickled chipotles. And since it was Guerrero, there were shots of
mescal, some of it made deliciously smooth by adding nanches
(chokecherries).
The very traditional recipe that follows was taught to me by Abaku
Chautla D. in Almolonga, Guerrero. It is a meal in itself: Some light
tostadas and Flan are all you need to make it really special.
YIELD:
8 to 9 quarts, 10 to 12 typically hefty servings
2 pounds (about 5ВЅ cups) dried white field corn, prepared as
Half-Cooked Hominy using slaked lime
OR 4 quarts canned hominy, drained and rinsed
8 ounces lean, boneless pork shoulder, in a single piece
About 8 ounces pork neck (or other pork) bones
1 small (2ВЅ-pound) chicken, halved
22/3 cups (12 ounces) hulled, untoasted pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
1 pound (about 11 medium) fresh tomatillos, husked and
washed
OR two 13-ounce cans tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 6 chiles serranos or 3
chiles jalapeГ±os), stemmed and seeded
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 large sprigs epazote (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
4 large leaves ashoshoco or 2 small leaves hoja santa (see
Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
Salt, about 1 tablespoon
For the condiments:
1 cup diced red onion
1
/3 cup dried oregano
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced in ВЅ-inch chunks
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 151
2 cups chicharrГіn (crisp-fried pork rinds), broken into 1-inch
pieces (optional)
12 to 15 Crisp-Fried Tortillas (Tostadas
4 limes, cut into quarters
1. The hominy. As directed on, parboil the dried field corn with
slaked lime, clean off the hulls, and, if you like, pick off the heads.
Place in a large stockpot or soup kettle with 7 quarts of water, bring
to a boil, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until
the corn is nearly tender, 3 to 4 hours. Add water periodically to
bring it back to its original level.
Canned hominy simply needs to be drained and rinsed.
2. The meat. Using dried corn: When the corn is nearly tender, add
the meat, bones and chicken. After the liquid returns to a boil, skim
off the foam for several minutes. Partially cover and simmer 3 hours,
adding water periodically to bring it back to its original level. Then
taste the corn: If it is thoroughly soft and the kernels are splayed open,
you are ready to proceed; if it is still firm, let it cook another hour
or so.
Using canned hominy: Measure 7 quarts water into a kettle or
stockpot and add the meat, bones and chicken. Bring to a boil, skim
off the foam for the first 5 minutes of simmering, partially cover and
cook over medium-low heat for 3 hours. Add water periodically to
bring it back to its original level.
While the meat is cooking, complete Steps 3 and 4.
3. The pumpkinseeds. Heat a large (12-inch) skillet for a few minutes
over medium-low. Add the pumpkinseeds in a shallow layer and,
when the first one pops, stir them constantly for several minutes,
until all have popped and turned a golden color. Remove the seeds
to a large bowl.
4. The soup-base puree. Cook fresh tomatillos until tender in salted
water to cover, about 10 minutes. Drain either the fresh or canned
tomatillos and add to the pumpkinseeds, along with the green chile,
onion and herbs. Remove 2 cups of broth from the pot and pour
over the mixture. Scoop half the mixture into a blender jar and blend
until smooth; if the mixture is too thick to move through the blades,
add a little more broth to get it going again. Strain through a mediummesh sieve, then repeat the pureeing and straining with the rest of
the mixture.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and measure in the lard
or oil. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree really sizzle,
152 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
add it all at once and stir constantly for about 7 minutes, until it has
darkened some and thickened noticeably. Remove from the fire.
5. Finishing the pozole verde. Remove the meat and bones from the
pot and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkinseed mixture into the pot.
If you are using canned hominy, add it now. Let simmer for an hour,
stirring frequently to ensure that nothing is sticking on the bottom.
While the soup is simmering, skin and bone the chicken and pork,
removing all the fat; shred the meat into large strands.
Fifteen minutes before serving, season the soup with salt (hominy
requires considerable salt) and add the shredded meat to the pot.
Place the condiments on the table in small serving dishes. Finally,
dish up a large bowl of the pozole verde for each guest and pass the
condiments for each to add al gusto.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 153
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Pressure-Cooking Hominy: You can save time by completing Step 1
in a large pressure cooker. Cook the hulled corn in 5 quarts water for
about 1 hour, until nearly tender. Transfer to a stockpot, add enough
water so everything floats freely, and continue with Step 2.
Adding Salt to Pozole: Add salt only when the hominy is fully tender;
adding it too early will toughen the kernels.
Adding Shredded Meat to the Soup: Shredded meat disintegrates and
mats together when simmered in the soup, so add it just before you
plan to serve.
Ingredients
Dried Corn and Canned Hominy: Canned hominy may be easy, but
the aroma and texture of the home-cooked kernels make the longer
process worth the effort. Another alternative to the softer-textured
canned hominy is the lime-treated, half-cooked maГ­z nixtamalado (often
just called nixtamal), available in the refrigerated cases or freezers of
some Mexican groceries; simply rinse 8 cups of it and simmer until
tender. For notes on purchasing dried field corn and slaked lime,
respectively.
Pumpkinseeds: In Almolonga, the pozole verde is prepared with a
store-bought green powder made of unhulled pumpkinseeds. Because
the home-ground, unshelled seeds come out coarser (and the pozole
grittier), I have called for hulled seeds.
Epazote: This isn’t a dominant flavor here, so when unavailable, you
can replace it with parsley.
Ashoshoco and Hoja Santa: The former is closely related to the
long-leafed herb called plantain; if you’re a forager, you likely know
where you can pick some to add its pleasant, sharp herbiness.
Hoja santa is Piper sanctum, a member of the black-pepper family, and
its anisey flavor can be replaced by 1ВЅ cups of fennel bulb tops (feathery
green part only) plus ВЅ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Some
cooks use neither of these herbs in their pozole verde.
Timing and Advance Preparation
While the soup should be started 8 hours or more before serving time,
the active preparation time is only about 1 hour (unless you choose
to prepare your own hominy). It may be prepared a few days in
154 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
advance, the meat and soup refrigerated separately, covered. Slowly
reheat and thin, if necessary, just before serving.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Pozole Verde to Begin a Meal: This is such an elegant-tasting soup
that I recommend making it without meat to serve as a first course.
Prepare half the quantities called for as follows: Simmer the hulled
hominy from Step 1 in 3 quarts unsalted beef broth; prepare and fry
the soup-base puree, then add it to the simmering broth when the
hominy is tender; simmer 1 hour, season and serve in small bowls
with the garnishes. (Using canned hominy, prepare and fry the
soup-base puree using beef broth, then thin it to a light consistency
with more broth, add the drained canned hominy and simmer for 1
hour.)
PORK AND HOMINY SOUP
WITH RED CHILE AND
FRESH GARNISHES
Pozole Rojo
When hominy is simmering with pork and dried red chile, the
aromas are wonderfully mouth-watering. A big bowl of the rich
soup, topped with its crunchy fresh vegetables, makes a full informal
meal for those who like good eating. I’d start with a Jícama Salad or
Cactus-Paddle Salad and finish with one of the ice creams.
While any Mexican will say “Guadalajara” as fast as you can say
“pozole,” this soup is supper and weekend food most everywhere
in the Republic, save YucatГЎn. White pozole (simmered without the
red chile) is the typical Guadalajara version, where the adorning
sprinkle of oregano is often omitted. My first choice is this fullflavored Michoacán recipe—which comes from a transplanted
vendor at the CoyoacГЎn prepared-foods market in Mexico City.
YIELD:
8 to 9 quarts, 10 to 12 large servings
2 pounds (about 5ВЅ cups) dried white field corn, prepared as
Half-Cooked Hominy using slaked lime
OR 4 quarts canned hominy, drained and rinsed
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 155
½ small (about 4 pounds) pig’s head, well scrubbed and halved
OR 3 medium (about 2½ pounds total) pigs’ feet, well scrubbed
and split lengthwise, plus 1ВЅ pounds meaty pork neck bones
1ВЅ pounds lean, boneless pork shoulder, in a single piece
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 large (about 2 ounces total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
4 large (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles guajillos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
Salt, about 1 tablespoon
For the condiments:
ВЅ medium head of cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced
OR ВЅ head iceberg lettuce, cored and very thinly sliced
8 to 10 radishes, thinly sliced
1ВЅ cups finely chopped onion
About 1/3 cup dried oregano
2 to 3 large limes, cut into wedges
15 to 20 Crisp-Fried Tortillas (Tostadas
1. The hominy. Prepare the Half-Cooked Hominy or canned hominy
as described in Step 1.
2. The meat. Using dried corn: When the corn is nearly tender, add
the pig’s head (or pigs’ feet and neck bones), the pork shoulder and
the garlic. Cook as described in Step 2, until the corn is tender.
Using canned hominy: Measure 7 quarts of water into a kettle or
stockpot and add the pig’s head (or pigs’ feet and neck bones), the
pork shoulder and the garlic. Cook as described in Step 2, until the
corn is tender.
3. The chiles. Tear the chiles into large, flat pieces and toast them,
a few at a time, on a griddle or heavy skillet set over medium heat,
using a metal spatula to press them firmly against the hot surface
until they crackle and blister, then flipping them over and pressing
them down again. Remove to a bowl, cover with boiling water,
weight with a plate to keep them submerged and soak 30 minutes.
Drain, place in a blender jar and add ВЅ cup water; blend until
smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into the simmering
soup, then mix well.
Generously season the soup with salt (hominy requires considerable salt) and let simmer for another hour or so.
156 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
4. Finishing the soup. Remove the pig’s head (or pigs’ feet and neck
bones) and the pork shoulder from the simmering broth. When cool
enough to handle, remove the meat from the pig’s head, discarding
the bones, fat and cartilage (or for pigs’ feet, remove and discard the
cartilage and bones, then chop what remains into 1-inch pieces).
Roughly shred all the meat.
Just before serving, reseason the soup with salt. Add the meat to
the pot and let simmer a few minutes to reheat.
Ladle the soup into large bowls, top each one with a portion of
shredded cabbage or lettuce and some sliced radishes. Pass the onion,
oregano and lime wedges separately for each guest to add to his or
her taste. The tostadas are a crunchy accompaniment to enjoy
between big spoonfuls of the soup.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 157
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
See the technique notes.
Ingredients
Dried Corn and Canned Hominy: The details of which to choose are
on.
Pig’s Head: For anyone who’s eaten a genuine pozole made with pig’s
head, there is little doubt that the latter is what provides a lot of its
richness. But since a great number of Stateside cooks wouldn’t want
the head in their kitchens (much less in their stewpots), I’ve given an
alternative of pigs’ feet (which adds a similar richness).
Dried Chiles: It isn’t uncommon for the soup to be made with all
guajillos or all anchos. Use 6 anchos or 12 guajillos; the anchos make it
sweeter, the guajillos sharper. If neither is available, use 9 California
or New Mexico chiles.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start the soup at least 8 hours ahead, most of which is devoted to
unattended simmering. The soup can be made several days in advance:
Store the meat and soup separately, covered and refrigerated. Reheat
the soup and add the meat just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
White Pozole: Frequently around Guadalajara, in Guerrero and in
other parts of Mexico, the soup is made according to the preceding
recipe, omitting the red-chile puree. In this version, it is always served
with powdered red chile (like chile de ГЎrbol or chile piquГ­n) and/or a
salsa picante like the one. And in parts of Guerrero, a raw egg is stirred
in, then the soup is garnished with avocado, oregano, red onion and
the juice of bitter lima.
Kitchen Spanish
The name as well as this centuries-old method for preparing corn
comes from the Aztecs. In Nahuatl, pozolli means “foam”; to Aztec
eyes, the opened (or “flowered”) hominy apparently bore a
resemblance to something frothy.
RED-CHILE TRIPE SOUP
158 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
WITH FRESH GARNISHES
Menudo Rojo
I scooted onto a bar stool in a spiffy-looking marketplace fonda in
Tampico. To tell the truth, I’d never seen one of these places with
an espresso machine and ceiling fans before. It was Saturday morning
and the crowd was spooning down bowls of weekends-only mondongo (the Gulf Coast name for this popular tripe soup), so I followed
the lead. And before I left town, I’d returned for several more bowls
of their tender tripe in well-flavored broth, as well as some chats
with the well-fed owner, whose recipe follows here.
Though most people associate menudo with Northern states (where
it is frequently made without the red chile and with an addition of
hominy), versions of this hearty soup show up everywhere. It’s most
commonly eaten in the morning (the high vitamin B content, I’ve
read, is good for hangovers); if you’re adventurous, serve it for
brunch with Quick-Simmered Tortilla Casserole (Chilaquiles) and
fresh papaya; or make a supper of it, with Chunky Guacamole and
hot corn tortillas.
YIELD:
a generous 2 quarts, 4 large servings
2 pounds fresh beef tripe (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
About 1 tablespoon salt
1 large lime, juiced
1 small cow’s or medium pig’s foot, split lengthwise (see
Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
1 pound marrow bones, cut in 1-inch cross sections
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
ВЅ medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 medium (about 11/3 ounces total) dried chiles cascabeles
norteГ±os or California/New Mexico chiles, stemmed, seeded
and deveined
A generous ВЅ teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
For the condiments:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 159
2 small limes, quartered
About ВЅ cup chopped onion
Several tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon or so powdered hot chile, such as cayenne or
chile piquГ­n
1. The tripe. Wash the tripe thoroughly in several changes of warm
water. Place it in a large bowl, sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon salt
and the lime juice; vigorously work the salt and lime into the tripe
with a scrubbing motion. Let stand 30 minutes, then wash the tripe
again in several changes of warm water.
Slice the tripe into small pieces about 2 inches long and ВЅ inch
wide. Place in a large kettle or stockpot, cover with several quarts
of cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 10
minutes. Pour into a colander set in the sink, let drain a minute, then
return to the pan.
2. Simmering the tripe. Add the cow’s or pig’s foot, the marrow
bones and 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to mediumlow and skim off the foam that rises during the first few minutes of
cooking. Add half the garlic to the pot along with the onion and
oregano; partially cover and simmer until the tripe is very tender,
2 to 3 hours.
3. The chile flavoring and final preparations. When the tripe is nearly
tender, heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium. Tear the chiles
into flat pieces and toast them a few at a time by laying them on the
hot surface, pressing them flat with a metal spatula for several
seconds, until they blister and color a little, then flipping them over
and pressing down for a few seconds more. Place them in a small
bowl, cover with boiling water, weight with a plate to keep them
submerged, and soak 30 minutes.
Remove the cow’s or pig’s foot and all the marrow bones from
the broth, then skim off any fat floating on top. If you wish, let the
foot cool a little, then cut out and discard all the bone and cartilage,
chop what remains into small pieces and return it to the pot.
Drain the chiles and place them in a blender jar with the remaining
garlic and the ground cumin. Add 1/3 cup of the menudo broth, blend
until smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve into the pot.
Season with salt, partially cover and simmer 30 minutes.
4. Serving the soup. When you are ready to serve, place the condiments in small bowls on the table. Serve large bowls of the steaming
160 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
soup and pass the condiments for each guest to add to his or her
liking.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Cleaning and Blanching the Tripe: Tripe in the United States has
usually been parboiled as well as treated with lye (which cleans and
bleaches it in a way similar to the Mexican home method of scrubbing
with salt and lime juice). So ours needs little further cleaning, though
some advise blanching it (as in Step 1) to eliminate unpleasant odors.
Ingredients
Tripe: Ethnic markets always carry it. Of the four kinds of tripe, our
Chicago Mexican markets only carry the porous honeycomb tripe and
a darker, smoother one they call moreno. The first is tender and cooks
quickly; the second is more flavorful.
Cow’s or Pig’s Foot: Some recipes don’t call for it, but it adds a nice
texture to the broth.
Chiles Cascabeles NorteГ±os: These are common Northern chiles (large,
smooth-skinned, mild and maroon-colored) that are very similar to
our California or New Mexico chiles. Also, 3 chiles anchos may be used,
as they would be in Monterrey.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Plan 3 or 4 hours to prepare the soup, only 1 hour of which will require
your active involvement. Menudo keeps well for days, covered and
refrigerated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Menudo with Hominy: As described, prepare 5 ounces (Вѕ cup) dried
field corn as Half-Cooked Hominy. Simmer in 3 quarts water until
nearly tender, about 3 hours. Add the blanched tripe, foot and bones,
skim, add the flavorings, then cook slowly until the tripe is tender.
Finish the soup as directed in Step 3.
EGGS
Huevos
Even before I’d learned anything firsthand about Mexican victuals,
I knew that the breakfasts were legendary. The fried eggs with picante
tomato sauce (huevos rancheros) were robust and delicious, and so
were the scrambled ones with chiles, onions and tomatoes. Everyone
162 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
in my part of the country loved them with soft corn tortillas—buttered, salted and drizzled with hot sauce.
When I visited Mexico, I found those same dishes everywhere.
Scrambled eggs were on plates, in tacos, laid into rolls for tortas.
They were served anytime during the morning, anytime during the
evening, in coffee shops, market fondas, taco and torta shops. When
I ordered my first afternoon fixed-course comida corrida, they asked
if I wanted a fried egg with the rice course. At the juice bars, they
offered to blend an egg with the fresh-fruit smoothies. And a good
many of the stewed taco fillings at the snack-shop cubby holes near
the markets were filled with eggs. How could the country survive
without eggs, I wondered.
All around the country, all kinds of regional egg dishes show up
on menus: an omelet in brothy, epazote-flavored red-chile sauce
(huevos a la oaxaqueГ±a) in Oaxaca; scrambled eggs with smoked gar
(huevos con pejelagarto) in Tabasco; baked eggs with shrimp and
oysters (huevos malagueГ±os) in YucatГЎn; shredded beef, eggs and light
chile sauce (salpicГіn acapulqueГ±o) in Acapulco and other spots;
scrambled—literally “thrown”—eggs with black beans (huevos tirados)
in Veracruz; and a rather peculiar “cake” of sweet-spiced eggs and
pork in broth with a dollop of smoky Oaxacan chile pasilla sauce
(higaditos) in Tlacolula, Oaxaca.
Others came along that were less memorable, as did two that have
become my favorites: the Northern crispy shredded jerky with
scrambled eggs, garlic, onion and chiles (machacado con huevo) and
the delightful, busy layering of tostada, beans, eggs, tomato sauce,
ham, peas and cheese known as huevos motuleГ±os in Southern and
Yucatecan Mexico.
In our home, Mexican egg dishes frequently show up on the table
for quick suppers or lunches. Our favorite recipes for the Mexican
classics are all included in this chapter.
For egg recipes in other chapters, see “Eggs” in the Index.
Keys to Perfect Egg Cooking
Beating Eggs for Scrambling: The more you beat them the less texture
they’ll have and the drier they’ll seem. I beat them only enough to
combine the yolks and whites. Also, adding a little liquid (water,
milk, cream, sour cream, yogurt, what have you) will make them
lighter.
Getting the Heat Right: Medium heat is a detriment to eggs, making
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 163
them lifeless and rubbery. Scrambling should be done over mediumlow heat for small soft curds or in a hot pan over medium-high heat,
gently and slowly stirring, for large tender-but-firm curds (the latter
is what I call for most frequently, especially for taco fillings).
EGGS COOKED “TO TASTE”
Huevos al Gusto
Happily, there are three distinctive, delicious “tastes” in national
Mexican egg cooking that go beyond the simple fried, scrambled or
tibio (half-raw boiled) eggs that abound. At least two of the three are
common in bus-station food bars and other utilitarian cookeries
through the whole country: one batch of eggs scrambled full of hot
serrano peppers, tomatoes and crunchy onions (huevos a la mexicana),
and another made fat and soft with chorizo sausage (huevos con chorizo). Filled into a pliable tortilla or crusty bun, either one satisfies
much longer than the brightly displayed synthetic sweets that
compete with them at lunch counters.
The third egg dish is also quite simple, though it does consume
more of the cook’s energy and so is promoted to the domain of the
Republic’s coffee shops and restaurants. Huevos rancheros starts with
fried eggs on soft tortilla beds, then the ensemble is dribbled with
a fresh-tasting tomato sauce that always seems to announce the regional (or economic) orientation of the one who prepared it.
RANCH-STYLE EGGS
WITH TOMATO-CHILE
SAUCE
Huevos Rancheros
You can almost bet that anything ranchero or a la ranchera will come
in a coarse, picante tomato sauce—what you might expect for “ranch”
style. The picante can be little serranos (or habaneros in YucatГЎn), dried
chiles de árbol, even chipotles or long green chiles—whatever happens
to be the regional choice or the find of the moment.
I can’t think of serving huevos rancheros without Frijoles Refritos,
tropical fruit and lots of CafГ© con Leche.
164 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
YIELD:
4 servings
About 2 cups (1 recipe) Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce
(or any of the accompanying variations)
4 medium-thick corn tortillas, store-bought or homemade,
preferably stale
Вј cup vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
8 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired
2 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso fresco or queso aГ±ejo,
or cheese like feta, farmer’s cheese or mild Parmesan
A little chopped parsley, for garnish
1. The preliminaries. Warm the sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, covered. If the tortillas are fresh, let them dry out in
a single layer for a few minutes. Heat the oil in a large, well-seasoned
skillet over medium-high; when quite hot, quick-fry the tortillas one
at a time, 2 or 3 seconds per side, just to soften them. Drain on paper
towels, wrap in foil and keep warm in a low oven. Reduce the heat
under the skillet to medium-low and let it cool for several minutes.
2. The eggs. Break 4 eggs into the skillet and let them cook slowly
until set, sunny-side up. (If you want the eggs cooked more uniformly top and bottom, cover the skillet for a time.) Sprinkle with
salt and pepper, then transfer the cooked eggs to a baking sheet and
keep them warm with the tortillas. Add a little more oil to the pan,
if necessary, then fry the remaining eggs in the same fashion.
3. Assembling the dish. Set a tortilla on each of 4 warm plates. Top
with 2 fried eggs, then spoon the sauce over the tortilla and whites
of the eggs, leaving the yolks exposed. Last, sprinkle with the
crumbled cheese and chopped parsley, and carry to the table.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 165
Huevos rancheros
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Quick-Frying Tortillas:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start to finish, huevos rancheros takes about 15 minutes, if the sauce is
on hand. To be at its best, the dish must be served at once.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Huevos Rancheros with Other Sauces: You can replace the tomato
sauce with about 2 cups Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce or
Northern-Style Red-Chile Sauce.
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH
MEXICAN FLAVORS
Huevos a la Mexicana
Like ranchero, a la mexicana invariably brings to mind a list of ingredients: tomatoes, chiles and onions—all chopped and chunky. And
like eggs with chorizo, these eggs a la mexicana make a perfect trio
with steaming, soft corn or flour tortillas and Fresh Green Tomatillo
Sauce. To dress them up for a special breakfast, scoop them into a
166 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
decorative bowl and top with a few onion rings, a little chopped
parsley and crumbled fresh cheese. Unadorned, at the privacy of
your own table, they are very good with toast and coffee.
YIELD:
22/3 cups, 4 servings
3 tablespoons lard, vegetable oil, bacon drippings, fat rendered
from chorizo, or even butter
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 chiles serranos or 1
large chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed
1 small onion, diced
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, cored and diced
8 large eggs
About 1 scant teaspoon salt
1. The flavorings. Melt the lard or other fat in a medium-size skillet
set over medium heat. For a milder dish, seed the chiles, then chop
them finely and add to the skillet, along with the onion and tomato.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened but is not
brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
2. The eggs. Beat the eggs with the salt, just enough to combine the
whites and yolks. Add them to the skillet and scramble until they
are as done as you like. Taste for salt, then scoop them into a warm
dish and serve right away.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 167
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Green Chiles: The serrano or jalapeГ±o are common, but not exclusive;
each region uses its locally favored variety. So follow suit and use
what’s available or desirable.
Timing and Advance Preparation
This simple dish can be ready for the table in 15 to 20 minutes, and
doesn’t require any ingredients that aren’t already on hand in most
flavor lovers’ kitchens.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp: Prepare the dish as directed, adding 1
cup (6 ounces) peeled, deveined, chopped raw shrimp to the cooking
vegetables.
Huevos con Nopales: Prepare the recipe as directed, adding 1 cup
sliced, cooked cactus paddles to the vegetables while they are cooking.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Avocado, Bacon and Cheese: Add 8 slices
crumbled, cooked bacon to the cooked vegetables, then add the eggs
and scramble until nearly set. Stir in 1 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese,
letting it soften before scraping the eggs into a warm serving dish.
Garnish with diced avocado and chopped fresh basil or oregano.
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH
MEXICAN SAUSAGE
Huevos con Chorizo
For months, Deann and I lived over a coffee shop, whose earlymorning aromas collected in the halls outside our place: simmering
chilaquiles with epazote, coffee from the espresso machine, frying bacon and fragrant chorizo. A few steps down the stairs and I was ready
for huevos con chorizo or chilaquiles every morning.
Predictably, the best renditions of the simple scrambled-egg dish
outlined here are served where the best chorizo is made: Toluca,
Oaxaca and, to me, the Spanish settlement of Perote, Veracruz. For
serving ideas, please see the introduction to Eggs a la Mexicana.
168 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
YIELD:
22/3 cups, 4 servings
8 ounces (about 1 cup) chorizo sausage, store-bought or
homemade, casing removed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, cored and chopped (optional)
8 large eggs
About ВЅ teaspoon salt (or less if the chorizo is very salty)
1. The flavorings. In a medium-size skillet, cook the chorizo in the
oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to break up clumps.
When it is done, about 10 minutes, remove it with a slotted spoon,
then discard all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet (or
add vegetable oil to bring it to that quantity). Add the optional onions
and tomato and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to
soften, about 7 minutes. Return the chorizo to the pan.
2. The eggs. Beat the eggs with the salt, just enough to combine the
whites and yolks. Add to the skillet and scramble until done to your
liking. Taste for salt, then scoop into a warm dish and serve quickly.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 169
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
You need only 20 minutes to prepare this dish—scarcely long enough
to steam-heat the requisite stack of corn tortillas.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Eggs, Chorizo and Rajas: Prepare the flavorings as directed in Step 1,
slicing the onion (rather than chopping it) and adding 1 large
chile poblano (roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced). Complete the recipe
as directed and garnish with crumbled fresh cheese and chopped
flat-leaf parsley, if you like.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Eggs, Chorizo and Mushrooms: I think chorizo goes well with some of
the meaty “wild” mushrooms now available (like shiitakes). Chop them
and fry with the chorizo, then finish the dish as directed. Garnish with
crumbled fresh cheese and a little fresh or dried oregano.
Coffee can, Veracruz
SHREDDED BEEF JERKY
WITH SCRAMBLED EGGS
AND CHILE
Machacado con Huevo
To my taste, this Northern specialty is the most delicious of all the
egg dishes. I love the aged flavor of jerky that has been shredded
170 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
and fried crisp; mix it with eggs, and I’ve found my dish for any
simple meal. To make it breakfast, I add fruit, flour tortillas and
coffee; for supper, I put out a salad, tortillas and beer. And I always
offer a little Salsa Picante to sprinkle on.
The name machacado means “crushed,” which aptly describes what
happened to the jerky when I learned to prepare it in San Ignacio,
Baja California Sur; there, my instructor showed me how to pound
the jerky with a large flat stone to shred it quickly.
YIELD:
about 2ВЅ cups, 4 servings
2 ounces beef jerky, store-bought or homemade
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
1 small onion, diced
1 fresh chile poblano, roasted and peeled, seeded and diced
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, cored and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
jerky)
1. The meat. Lay the jerky on a baking sheet and set under a heated
broiler. In 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness and dryness
of the jerky, the fat will bubble on the top and the edges will be
lightly browned and crispy.
Cool the meat, then tear into thin shreds. Now, reduce the shreds
of meat to fluffy, fine threads: Either pound them a little at a time
in a mortar (it should look like a coarse, loose felt), or process them
in 2 or 3 batches in the blender, pulsing the machine on and off
quickly, until the meat looks like a fluffy heap of light-brown threads.
There should be 1 cup.
2. The eggs. Beat the eggs just enough to combine the yolks and
whites; set aside.
3. Browning the meat and vegetables. Heat the oil in a medium-large
skillet over medium-high. Add the diced onion and fry, stirring
frequently, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the
threads of meat, reduce the heat to medium and stir frequently until
the mixture is well browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Add the chile, tomato and garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce
the heat to medium-low and add a little more oil if all has been absorbed.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 171
4. Finishing the dish. Pour the eggs into the pan and scramble until
done to your liking. Taste for salt, then scoop the mixture into a
warm serving bowl and carry to the table.
Lava rock and earthenware mortars
(molcajete and chirmolera)
172 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Roasting the Jerky: The heat softens the jerky slightly, making it easier
to shred and giving it a browned flavor. Overroasted jerky crumbles
rather than shreds.
Shredding the Jerky: When a chewy piece of jerky is reduced to fine
threads, it develops a pleasant texture. The threads should be visible
to the eye and about ВЅ inch long: Coarse shredding means chewy
jerky; very fine shredding gives a prechewed, gritty texture.
Ingredients
Jerky: Further information. If jerky is unavailable, use ВЅ pound brisket,
simmered until tender, then finely shredded as directed. Complete
Steps 2 through 4, browning the meat with the onions.
Chile Poblano: Other chiles are frequently used in this dish: 2 long
green chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded and diced) or hot green chiles to
taste (seeded and diced).
Equipment
Shredders: I prefer to pound the meat in my large basalt mortar because
I get the best control and don’t run the risk of finely chopped meat.
Without a mortar, I’d choose a blender: Be careful to only pulse the
machine. Market vendors told me they shredded with a mill (like the
one used for corn-tortilla dough); their results looked good.
Timing and Advance Preparation
This dish takes about ВЅ hour to make; that can be reduced to 15
minutes if Step 1 is completed ahead. Store prepared jerky at room
temperature, lightly covered.
SNACKS MADE
OF CORN MASA
Antojitos
Antojo: Whim, [passing] fancy, caprice, fad…Sudden craving…
174 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
—Diccionario moderno español-inglé (Larousse)
They are the “typical, popular, provincial” snacks, as the Diccionario
de mejicanismos calls them: the grilled-meat-and-onion tacos, fried
masa boats with sausage and hot sauce, the seviche tostadas or
turnovers stuffed with mushrooms or cheese. They are the internationally known collection of Mexican dishes that the outside world,
for the most part, thinks to be the sum total of Mexico’s culinary
adventure. No moles, no fish a la veracruzana or pork pibil in banana
leaves; all outsiders seem to know is a combination plate of tacos,
enchiladas and tostada…fun for the moment, as the name antojito
implies, but no cuisine to be taken seriously.
And they are not serious, like the sophisticated moles and all; nor
do they represent the breadth of Mexican cooking any more than
hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza sum up what American cooks can
do. Rather, they are pure, flavorful, colorful spontaneity mixed with
a good portion of vital camaraderie. And that, quite certainly, is at
the heart of lo mexicano.
It took years for me to shed the inaccurate stereotype of Mexican
cooking that I’d garnered from my hometown restaurants and recipes
clipped from newspapers and magazines. It probably didn’t happen
until I lived in Mexico City and fell into the rhythms of my neighborhood: There was an eleven o’clock bustle to the street vendors for a
masa turnover, a stew-filled soft taco or a seafood cocktail. At night,
a bank of taquerГ­as opened up several blocks away, completely open
little storefronts with big frying tables for meat tacos. In Alameda
Park, farther on, the ladies set up their charcoal braziers to roast
corn or, if it was a holiday, to bake masa boats or heat syrup for the
thin fritters called buГ±uelos. Late morning and evening and practically
anytime Sunday, waves of people took to the streets to have their
public snacks, to eat the filling creations made by someone else, to
eat in the company of others—an enjoyable affirmation of cultural
solidarity, perhaps…of cultural distinctiveness, certainly. At
whatever time, these were light meals to be eaten away from home,
when the solemn nutritional concerns of the afternoon comida were
far away.
Mexico’s regional antojitos are among the most enjoyable preparations in the country’s vast repertory. Cooks in every area mix up
corn dough in some special way, then fry, griddle-bake or steam it
to suit their tastes, and give it a whimsically descriptive name and
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 175
a sparkling garnish. The more twists and turns, the more variety of
filling, the more decoration and ornamentation, the more it will excite
this country of exuberant eaters. In regions where the variety of
antojitos swells, the snack shops and more festive restaurants sometimes collect them all onto one “combination plate” named for the
region. But for the most part, they remain singular specialties, featured streetside or in the marketplaces, snack parlors and coffee
shops.
Antojitos are quite firmly fixed in the public domain, and the preparation of many of them relies on a special piece of good-size
equipment, like the large frying table so commonly used by street
sellers, the massive hardwood charcoal fires and the vertical spits
for layered pork. So what I’ve included in this chapter is a representative batch of regional, traditional antojitos that I found could be
turned out well in a home kitchen.
Kitchen Spanish
Because eating antojitos is built inextricably into the fiesta spirit,
many Mexican cooks often connect the other fiesta dishes—mole,
barbacoa, pozole, menudo—to the antojito category. To keep things neat
and tidy, I’ve included only masa-based snacks as antojitos. Also,
turning things around, nicer restaurants often take the masa-based
antojitos—which usually function as light meals—prepare them in
smaller portions, and put them on the tables along with the appetizers. Clearly, this is a remarkably versatile category.
TACOS
Most Mexicans I know just laugh when they think about the crisp
U-shaped tacos heaped with ground beef, lettuce and American
cheese—the ones that come with beans and rice and pass for a
Mexican “dinner” in the United States. They’re a long way from the
authentic double thickness of corn tortillas—a little greasy from the
griddle—wrapped around a biteful of meat, sprinkled with sharp
sauce and a little fragrant onion and fresh coriander (cilantro). And
enjoyed standing up, as a tasty snack.
So what exactly is a taco, that most well known of Mexican
culinary inventions? Simply answered by one expert, it is improvised
cooking wrapped in a tortilla. And, in my opinion, it is remarkably
good not only because a fresh-baked corn tortilla is so good, but also
176 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
because Mexican cooks have a natural talent for putting together
dabs of this and that.
In Mexico, the corn tortillas for tacos can be steaming soft and
folded over thick stews (tacos de cazuela), griddle-cooked meats,
potatoes or eggs (tacos de la plancha), charcoal-grilled beef, pork or
chicken (tacos al carbГіn), or steamed barbacoa or beef head meat (tacos
a vapor). The tortillas can be quick-fried (to ensure that they don’t
dry out), then folded over a little ground meat, fresh cheese or chileseasoned potatoes and packed in a cloth-lined basket to sell on the
street (tacos de canasta). The tortillas can be rolled around a filling
and fried crisp to make tacos dorados. Or they can be replaced with
soft flour tortillas to make burritos or tacos de harina. Folded or rolled,
fried, half-fried, quick-fried or soft, filled with practically anything
that will fit—they’re all tacos to someone in Mexico.
Soft tacos are the most common of the lot, and when it comes to
serving them (which I find myself doing frequently), I focus on the
spirited informality, putting the components out for help-yourself
buffets at parties or on a simply set table for impromptu lunches or
suppers. I plan 3 or 4 tacos per person, plus some accompaniments.
For a group of 4, I’d make 2 fillings; for 8, I’d make 3 or 4. As a general rule, 1 cup of filling makes about 4 tacos; plan 2 thin (or one
thick) corn tortillas or 1 flour tortilla per taco.
Recipes from other chapters that work well as soft taco fillings:
Melted Cheese with Peppers and Chorizo; Shredded Beef Salad with
Avocado; Eggs a la Mexicana; Eggs with Chorizo; Scrambled Eggs
with Shredded Jerky; Brains with Mexican Seasonings; Stewed
Mushrooms; Chile-Marinated Vegetables; Chicken or Pork Pibil;
Chicken Barbacoa; Shredded Pork Tinga; Carne con Chile Colorado;
Pork Carnitas; Goat or Lamb Birria.
SOFT TACOS WITH FILLINGS FROM THE
EARTHENWARE POT OR GRIDDLE
Tacos de Cazuela y de la Plancha
In Spanish bars, they put out dishes of warm and cool mixtures
made with seafood, vegetables and the like: tapas, to spoon onto
your plate and enjoy with a drink. Tacos de cazuela are a sort of
Mexican equivalent, though they fill in more as a tortilla-wrapped
light meal than as a preprandial snack.
Just about any of the thick-sauced meat dishes (“stews,” as we
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 177
might call them) for which the different regions are known can show
up in stands that sell tacos de cazuela, so these tacos often have quite
interesting and varied fillings. And if the vendor keeps them warm
in thick earthenware vessels (cazuelas), the scene can be as beautiful
as the tacos are tasty. Unfortunately, earthenware is fast being replaced by enamelware and even steam tables in towns like Hermosillo, Sonora and Veracruz.
I’ve seen big griddles for tacos de la plancha on the streets of most
Mexican cities, save those in YucatГЎn. One beautiful stand has for
years been set up on the wharf in Veracruz: Spread on the counter
that’s hooked to the front of the butane-fired griddle is a thick carpet
of fresh flat-leaf parsley; on top sits a rock mortar full of guacamole
followed by help-yourself bowls of chile de ГЎrbol sauce, salsa mexicana,
peeled cucumbers, lime wedges and radishes. It’s a fragrant sight
and the little steak-and-onion, tripe or chorizo tacos are delicious.
An equally delicious and varied assortment of cazuela and plancha
soft taco fillings begins after the following general directions.
Preparing the Tortillas: Steam-heat corn tortillas as described; keep
them warm in the steamer in a very low oven, and bring them out
as needed. Flour tortillas should be heated as directed; keep them
in a very low oven and bring them out a few at a time. It is customary
that vendors of tacos de la plancha will heat very fresh small corn tortillas directly on the lightly greased griddle. In addition to warming
them, the little bit of grease makes them more pliable and less given
to falling apart.
How to Serve Soft Tacos: For a small group, simply set out hot tortillas and pass the fillings in warm bowls. Complete the meal with
Frijoles Refritos and a salad. For a large, informal, come-and-go party,
set out a number of fillings on warming trays or in small chafing
dishes (always include 1 or 2 cold or room-temperature ones; also
Seviche or Shredded Beef Salad with Avocado fit here nicely). Have
a good supply of different sauces like Guacamole with Tomatillos,
Salsa Mexicana and Salsa Picante set nearby; Roasted Pepper Rajas go
well with the griddle-cooked fillings. Frequently replenish baskets
of flour and corn tortillas. Prepare griddle-cooked or other lastminute fillings in small batches throughout the party. Set out some
forks for those who decide to eat the fillings without tortillas. Charro
Beans ladled into cups and Mixed Vegetable Salad or JГ­cama Salad
always seem welcome. Sweet Fresh-Cheese Pie and a bowl of fruit
would make a sweet, simple ending to the party.
178 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Regional Explorations
While the griddle fillings are more or less similar throughout the
country, fillings from the homey cazuelas show regional distinctiveness
as these few examples illustrate: in Querétaro—rajas of chile poblano
in tomato sauce, eggs with dark chile pasilla sauce, cactus paddles in
light red-chile sauce; in Veracruz—chicken or beef with chipotle
peppers, blood sausage with onion and tomato, cactus paddles with
pork or scrambled eggs, pickled pigs’ feet; in Toluca—stewed greens
like spinach and dock, mushrooms with green chiles, pork rind in
tomato or tomatillo sauce, squash blossoms; in Mexico City—green
and red mole with chicken, squash with pork, salpicГіn of chicken or
beef, rajas of green chile with potatoes and eggs; in MГ©rida,
Yucatán—shrimp, octopus or whelk in lime vinagreta or in escabeche,
octopus in its ink, meaty fish like cherna in mayonnaise with peas, fish
in tomato sauce.
SCRAMBLED EGGS AND
POTATOES IN TANGY
GREEN SAUCE
Huevos y Papas con Rajas en
Salsa Verde
This earthy combination of well-browned potatoes, roasted chiles,
scrambled eggs and tomatillo sauce is a delicious brunch or supper
dish served with Frijoles Refritos and corn tortillas. It comes from a
literal hole-in-the-wall, no-name, stand-up taquerГ­a in downtown
Mexico City, where none of the dishes has a name more complicated
than “potatoes and eggs” or “pork and zucchini.” The talented ladies
who cook there, though, really know the Mexican secret of brilliantly
flavored, beautifully textured taco fillings.
YIELD: about 3ВЅ cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
ВЅ recipe Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce, prepared as directed
in Step 1 below
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 179
3 small (about 10 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the
red-skinned ones, halved
4 large eggs
A generous Вј teaspoon salt
2ВЅ tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
ВЅ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other
fresh cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese, plus a little extra for
garnish
ВЅ small onion, thinly sliced
2 large fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled
1. The preliminaries. Prepare the ВЅ recipe tomatillo sauce as directed,
through Step 2; measure out the broth and salt called for in the sauce
recipe and combine them.
Simmer the potatoes in salted water to cover just until tender,
about 15 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, peel if you
wish, then cut into Вѕ-inch dice.
2. The eggs. Beat the eggs with the salt, just enough to combine the
whites and yolks. Heat half the lard or oil in a large, well-seasoned
or Teflon-coated skillet over medium-high. When hot, add the eggs
and stir every 3 seconds or so (as when making an omelet) until set;
to form large curds, the cooking must go quickly without much
stirring. Scrape the eggs into a small bowl, stir in the crumbled
cheese, and set aside. Clean the skillet.
3. Frying the mixture. About ВЅ hour before serving, heat the remaining generous tablespoon lard or oil in the skillet over medium. Add
the onion and diced potatoes, and fry, stirring frequently to ensure
that nothing sticks to the pan, until the mixture is well browned, about
15 minutes. While the potatoes are browning, stem and seed the
chiles, then slice them into 1/8-inch strips. Add to the potato mixture
and increase the heat to medium-high.
4. Adding the sauce. When the mixture begins to sizzle with a little
added fervor, pour in the tomatillo puree from Step 1. Stir gently for
4 or 5 minutes while the sauce sears and boils vigorously to a thicker,
darker mixture. Add the salted broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat
to medium and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the
other ingredients. Add the eggs and cheese, simmer for a minute or
so, spoon into a serving dish, sprinkle with a little crumbled cheese
and serve.
180 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Tomatillos
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: If necessary, they can be replaced with 3 large, long
green chiles (roasted and peeled) or 4 jalapeГ±os (seeded and sliced);
add the latter with the onions.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The dish takes about an hour, though not every minute is active. Steps
1 and 2 may be completed ahead; cover and refrigerate the components.
Finish the dish just before serving; if necessary, the completed dish
can be gently reheated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Potatoes and Rajas: For a nice side dish to serve with eggs or meats,
prepare the potatoes as described in Step 1, then brown with the onions
and chiles (Step 3) and season with salt. It makes about 3 servings.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Potatoes, Zucchini and Rajas in Creamy Green Sauce: Prepare the
tomatillo sauce and potatoes as directed in Step 1, reserving ВЅ cup
broth (rather than 1 cup) with the tomatillo puree. In vegetable oil in
a large skillet, brown the potatoes with the onions and 2 diced zucchini.
Add the chile, increase the heat to medium-high, then stir in the
tomatillo puree as directed in Step 4. Add the broth plus ВЅ cup Thick
Cream or whipping cream. Simmer until thickened, then serve
sprinkled with fresh cheese.
ZUCCHINI AND PORK
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 181
WITH MEXICAN FLAVORS
Calabacitas con Puerco
This typically Mexican-flavored dish, from that Mexico City noname taquería I love, is something I’m sure most Mexicans have
prepared or eaten numerous times; the corn, epazote and fresh cheese
make it especially good. It is a perfectly substantial main-course taco
filling and needs nothing more than tortillas and a green salad to
make a complete meal. Or chop the meat and vegetables larger, and
serve it as a casserole.
YIELD: about 3ВЅ cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
1 pound (4 small) zucchini, ends trimmed and cut in Вѕ-inch
dice
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if
necessary
1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut
into 3/8-inch pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, roasted or boiled, peeled, cored
and diced
1 large fresh chile poblano, roasted and peeled, seeded and
diced
The kernels cut from 1 large ear of fresh sweet corn (about 1
cup)
OR 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as oregano, marjoram and
thyme)
2 bay leaves
1 sprig epazote (optional)
Salt, if necessary
3 ounces (1 scant cup) Mexican queso fresco or other fresh
cheese like mild domestic goat or farmer’s cheese, cut into
ВЅ-inch cubes
182 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1. “Sweating” the zucchini. Place the zucchini in a colander, toss
with salt and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, to rid it of excess liquid.
2. Browning the meat. In a large skillet, heat the lard or oil over
medium-high. When hot, add the pork in a single layer; stir occasionally for about 7 minutes, until well browned, then remove to a small
bowl.
3. Finishing the dish. Add a little more lard or oil to the pan, if necessary, reduce the heat to medium, then add the onions and cook,
stirring frequently, until they have browned, about 7 minutes. Stir
in the garlic, cook for a minute or so, then add the tomato. Let the
mixture cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Rinse the zucchini and dry on paper towels. Add to the tomato
mixture, along with the browned meat, the chiles and the corn.
Measure in the herbs, bay leaves, epazote and 1ВЅ cups water. Reduce
the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the
meat is tender and the juices have been almost completely consumed.
Taste for salt. Scoop into a serving dish and top with the cubes of
fresh cheese.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 183
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
“Sweating” Zucchini:.
Ingredients
Chile Poblano: If this chile isn’t available, prepare the dish with 2 long
green chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded and diced) or as many hot green
chiles (seeded and diced) as you can take.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow 1ВЅ hours to prepare the dish, about half of which is unattended
simmering. The dish may be simmered a day or so ahead, covered
and refrigerated; reheat slowly in a covered saucepan, then garnish
with the cheese.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Minor Variations on the Calabacitas Theme: The pork may be omitted,
making it a nice vegetable dish to accompany a simple meat; replace
the water with 1 cup chicken broth. Beef can replace the pork, as can
boneless chicken breast. (With the latter, add the browned cubed
chicken breast to the simmering vegetables only 5 minutes before
serving and use chicken broth in place of water.)
Mexican wooden cooking spoons
SHRIMP WITH LIME
DRESSING AND CRUNCHY
184 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
VEGETABLES
Camarones a la Vinagreta
The refreshing simplicity of this soft taco filling, based on a recipe
given to me by a Yucatecan taquería cook, makes it a perfect complement to some of the richer fillings. Also, it’s a delicious first course,
hors d’oeuvre or picnic offering. With warm tortillas or good bread
and a creamy potato salad, it makes a very good summer supper.
about 3 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
For the shrimp:
YIELD:
1 lime, halved
ВЅ teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
Вј teaspoon allspice berries, very coarsely ground
3 bay leaves
12 ounces good-quality shrimp, left in their shells
For completing the dish:
ВЅ small red onion, cut into Вј-inch dice
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, cored and cut into Вј-inch dice
5 radishes, finely diced
1ВЅ tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
2ВЅ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably half olive oil and half
vegetable oil
ВЅ teaspoon salt
2 or 3 leaves romaine or leaf lettuce, for garnish
Sprigs of coriander (cilantro) or radish roses, for garnish
1. The shrimp. Squeeze the two lime halves into a medium-size
saucepan, then add the two squeezed rinds, the black pepper, allspice, bay leaves and 1 quart water. Cover and simmer over mediumlow heat for 10 minutes.
Raise the heat to high, add the shrimp, re-cover and let the liquid
return to a full boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, hold
the lid slightly askew and strain off all the liquid. Re-cover tightly,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 185
set aside for 15 minutes, then rinse the shrimp under cold water to
stop the cooking.
Peel the shrimp, then devein them by running a knife down the
back to expose the dark intestinal track and scraping it out. If the
shrimp are medium or larger, cut them into ВЅ-inch bits; place in a
bowl.
2. Other preliminaries. Add the red onion, tomato, radish and coriander to the shrimp. In a small bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid,
combine the lime juice, oil and salt.
3. Combining and serving. Shortly before serving, mix the dressing
ingredients thoroughly, then pour over the shrimp mixture. Toss to
coat everything well, cover, and refrigerate or set aside at room
temperature.
Line a shallow serving bowl with the lettuce leaves. Taste the
shrimp mixture for salt, scoop it into the prepared bowl and serve,
garnished with sprigs of coriander or radish roses.
Olive oil, Baja California
186 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparation time is about 1Вѕ hours, most of which is devoted to the
shrimp quietly marinating. The shrimp and vegetables can be prepared
early in the day: Refrigerate separately, well covered. Dress the salad
up to 1 hour before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fruits of the Sea a la Vinagreta: Squid or octopus (simmered until
tender, then cubed), shelled cooked crawfish, crabmeat or any meaty
fish (poached and cubed) can be used in this dish: Replace the cooked
shrimp with 10 ounces (12/3 cups) cooked seafood.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Shrimp, JГ­cama and Roasted Chiles a la Vinagreta: Prepare the recipe
as directed, replacing the tomato with 1 cup diced jГ­cama and adding
1 large chile poblano or 2 long green chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded and
thinly sliced) and 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives. Garnish with
orange segments if you wish.
Regional Explorations
In MГ©rida, YucatГЎn, where the average temperature is 65 degrees or
better, the taco stands serve warm tortillas with cool fillings they call
fiambres. Many are made from the abundant local seafood and may be
dressed with a limey vinegarless vinagreta, or prepared in escabeche,
or the tomato-herb-olive combination called a la veracruzana.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 187
Cold Chicken and Avocado with Chile Chipotle
COLD CHICKEN AND
AVOCADO WITH CHILE
CHIPOTLE
Pollo, Aguacate y Chile Chipotle en FrГ­o
Here is a variation on salpicГіn, from a taquerГ­a in Mexico City, which
pairs chicken and vegetables with the perfect combination of avocado, chile chipotle, and well-dressed salad. Serve it as a summer
main course with warm tortillas, a big fruit salad and, nontraditionally, a bottle of GewГјrztraminer. Or carry it unmixed to a picnic,
toss it as directed in Step 2 and serve with crusty French bread.
YIELD: about 3ВЅ cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
1 chicken leg-and-thigh quarter or 1 large breast half
188 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
ВЅ teaspoon salt
2 small (about 6 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the
red-skinned ones, halved
2 medium (about 6 ounces total) carrots, peeled and cut into
1ВЅ-inch lengths
Вј cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
ВЅ teaspoon salt
2 to 4 canned chiles chipotles, seeded and thinly sliced
Вј small onion, finely diced
4 large romaine lettuce leaves, sliced in 3/8-inch strips, plus
several whole leaves for garnish
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
Вј cup vegetable oil
1 slice of onion, broken into rings, for garnish
1. The chicken mixture. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a mediumsize saucepan, add the chicken and salt, skim off the foam that rises
as the water returns to a boil, partially cover and simmer over medium heat—23 minutes for the dark meat, 13 minutes for the breast.
If there is time, cool the chicken in the broth.
Boil the potatoes and carrots in salted water to cover until they
are just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Rinse for a moment under cold
water, strip off the potato skins, if you wish, then cut the potatoes
and carrots into 3/8-inch dice. Place in a large mixing bowl.
Skin and bone the chicken, then tear the meat into large shreds
and add to the potatoes.
Skim off all the fat on top of the broth, then measure 3 tablespoons
of broth into a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar, oregano and salt. Pour
the dressing over the chicken mixture and add the sliced chiles chipotles and chopped onion. Stir, cover and let stand for 45 minutes,
refrigerated or at room temperature.
2. Finishing the dish. Shortly before serving, mix the sliced lettuce
and diced avocado into the chicken mixture. Drizzle with oil and
toss lightly. Taste for salt.
Line a serving platter with the remaining romaine leaves and pile
on the chicken mixture. Decorate with the onion rings and serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 189
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Chipotles: In Mexico City, dishes like this often utilize pickled
(not adobo-packed) chipotles. Without any chipotles at all, this dish loses
many of its special qualities, though a nice salad can be made using
pickled jalapeГ±os and chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), if desired.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The active preparation time is less than 45 minutes, though you’ll need
to start a couple of hours before serving. The chicken mixture can
marinate overnight, covered and refrigerated; complete the final
dressing within 15 minutes of serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Variations on the SalpicГіn Theme: The proportions and selection of
the main ingredients should be kept loose. Meats such as ham and
leftover pork or beef roast can easily be substituted for the cooked
chicken.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Smoked Chicken Salad with Avocado and Chipotle: Replace the cooked
chicken with 4 or 5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) diced smoked chicken.
Serve on plates lined with lightly dressed curly lettuce leaves.
190 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Pan-Fried Chicken Livers with Tomatillo Sauce
PAN-FRIED CHICKEN LIVERS WITH
TOMATILLO SAUCE
Azadura con Salsa Verde
In QuerГ©taro, cazuela fillings are set out in every little doorway or
cubbyhole eatery for spooning into rolls, rolling into tortillas or
stuffing into puffed masa cakes called gorditas. One filling is frequently the pan-fried chicken livers, which I think are a perfect match
for tomatillo sauce.
Served with tortillas and Jícama Salad, azadura (literally “innards”)
makes a good light supper (or even brunch, served with warm, sliced
hard-boiled eggs).
about 2ВЅ cups, enough for 10 tacos, serving 3 or 4 as a light
main course
YIELD:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 191
ВЅ recipe Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce, prepared as directed
in Step 1 below
1 pound (2 cups) chicken livers
About 1/3 cup flour
About ВЅ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
ВЅ medium onion, thinly sliced
Вј cup finely chopped onion mixed with 1 tablespoon chopped
fresh coriander (cilantro)
1. The sauce. Prepare the sauce as directed, simmering it an additional 5 minutes (a total of about 15 minutes) until it is the thickness
of tomato ketchup. Remove from the fire and set aside.
2. Frying the livers and onion. About 15 minutes before serving,
rinse the livers and pull or cut off all the fat and connective tissues.
Cut in half, then dry on paper towels. Scoop the flour onto a large
plate and sprinkle with salt.
Heat the lard or oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium. Add
the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Raise the
heat to medium-high. Quickly toss the livers in the flour, shake off
the excess and lay in a single layer in the skillet. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes
per side, until nicely browned and a large liver is just pink—not
bloody and red—when cut into.
3. Finishing the dish. While the livers are frying, reheat the green
sauce over low, adding a tablespoon or so of water if it has thickened
beyond a pourable consistency.
Scoop the fried livers onto a deep, warm serving plate and spoon
on the warm green sauce. Sprinkle with the onion and coriander
and serve right away.
192 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
The green sauce takes less than ВЅ hour and can be prepared ahead;
finish Steps 2 and 3 in the 20 minutes just before serving.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Azadura with Tomatillo, Roasted Garlic and Mustard: Prepare the
tomatillo sauce with twice the amount of fresh coriander and 3 cloves
roasted garlic. Add 2 tablespoons grainy mustard to the finished sauce.
Complete the recipe as directed.
a few Mexican beers
NORTHERN-STYLE
SHREDDED BEEF WITH
TOMATOES
Carne Deshebrada a la NorteГ±a
Mexican cooks throughout the Republic boil and shred beef for
snacks, though nowhere do they prepare it as frequently or as well
seasoned as in Northern Mexico. Besides being rolled into soft tacos,
meaty shreds of beef with tomatoes, chile and green onions are the
unnamed filling for Crispy-Fried Tacos called flautas there, and for
the flour tortilla—wrapped Chivichangas of the northwest. Served
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 193
with flour tortillas, Frijoles Refritos and a salad, this shredded beef
is a satisfying meal.
about 2ВЅ cups, enough for 10 tacos, serving 3 or 4 as a light
main course
YIELD:
1 pound lean, boneless beef chuck, flank or brisket, well
trimmed and cut into 1ВЅ-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
2 ripe, medium-small tomatoes, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled
and chopped
OR one 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 large green onions, root ends removed and chopped in Вј-inch
pieces
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 or 3 chiles serranos
or 1 or 2 chiles jalapeГ±os), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The meat. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan, add
the meat and salt, then skim off any grayish foam that rises during
the first few minutes of simmering. Slice half of the onion and halve
I clove of the garlic; add to the meat. Partially cover and simmer over
medium to medium-low heat until the meat is very tender, 45
minutes to 1ВЅ hours, depending on the cut. Let the meat cool in the
broth, if there is time. Strain the liquid and spoon off all the fat that
rises to the top; set the broth aside. Finely shred the meat (see
Techniques in Cook’s Notes), then dry with paper towels.
2. Finishing the shredded beef. Dice the remaining onion and mince
the remaining garlic. Heat the lard or oil in a large, heavy skillet
over medium-high. When hot, add the onion and shredded beef and
stir frequently for 8 to 10 minutes, until well browned. Reduce the
heat to medium, add the garlic, tomatoes, green onions and chiles,
and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have softened, about
4 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup of the reserved broth, then simmer until
the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and
it’s ready.
194 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Shredding Boiled Beef: In contrast to the soft-textured chuck (which
can be easily shredded between your fingers), flank and brisket are
dense enough that they require some ingenuity (though they make
good, meaty carne deshebrada). Tear the meat into small pieces, then
pulse small batches 3 or 4 times in a food processor; or tear the meat
into small pieces, stab into a piece with a fork (to secure it firmly on
the cutting board) and claw at it with a second fork until finely
shredded. The fork shredding gives the nicest texture.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start making this filling at least 2 hours ahead; plan on about 40
minutes of active involvement. It can be prepared up to 4 days ahead,
covered and refrigerated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Beef and Green-Chile Filling: The hot green chiles can be replaced
with 3 or 4 long green chiles or 2 or 3 large chiles poblanos (either should
be roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped).
Veracruz-Style Shredded Pork Filling: Use 1 pound lean, boneless
pork shoulder in place of the beef. Complete the recipe as directed,
replacing the green onions and green chiles with 2 canned
chiles chipotles (seeded and sliced) and 2 or 3 pickled chiles jalapeГ±os
(seeded and sliced).
Flavorful Shredded Chicken Filling: Poach 2 chicken breasts as directed,
reserving the broth; skin, bone and coarsely shred. Follow Step 2 of
the preceding recipe, adding the chicken when the broth is nearly
reduced.
MINCED PORK WITH ALMONDS,
RAISINS AND SWEET SPICES
Picadillo OaxaqueГ±o
Though this filling is made of ground meat, it’s rich with tomatoes
and sweet spices, and it’s textured with raisins and almonds. Oaxacan picadillo is a far cry from the soupy, undistinguished hamburgerand-potato picadillos commonly available throughout Mexico. It
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 195
makes a delicious filling for Chiles Rellenos and Picadillo Turnovers
as well as simple soft tacos. The name, by the way, comes from the
verb picar, “to mince.”
1
YIELD: about 3 /3 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
1ВЅ pounds (3 medium-large) ripe tomatoes, roasted or boiled,
cored, peeled and roughly chopped
OR one 28-ounce can tomatoes, undrained
1ВЅ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1½ pounds lean, coarse-ground pork (see Ingredients in Cook’s
Notes)
ВЅ teaspoon black peppercorns (or about Вѕ teaspoon ground)
1 inch cinnamon stick (or about 1 teaspoon ground)
5 cloves (or about 1/8 teaspoon ground)
Вј cup raisins
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
Вј cup slivered almonds
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
1. The tomatoes. For a picadillo using peeled fresh tomatoes, place
them in a blender or food processor with 1/3 cup water, then process
until smooth. Using canned tomatoes, simply puree them with their
liquid.
2. The meat. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium. When hot,
add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic
and cook 2 minutes longer. Add the pork in a thin layer and fry,
stirring frequently, until cooked and lightly brown. (If quite a bit of
fat has rendered from the meat, drain it off.)
3. Finishing the picadillo. Pulverize the pepper, cinnamon and cloves
in a mortar or spice grinder, then add to the skillet along with the
tomato puree, raisins and vinegar. Simmer until reduced to a thick,
homogeneous mass, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the juiciness of
the tomatoes.
Toast the almonds for about 10 minutes in a 325В° oven, stir into
the filling, season with salt, and it’s ready.
196 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Cinnamon sticks (canela)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 197
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Coarse-Ground Meat: To avoid the high fat and water content, I buy
pork shoulder (or, for Northern-Style Picadillo, beef chuck), trim it,
then run it through a meat chopper or chop it in small batches in the
food processor.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow about an hour to prepare the filling, at least half of which is for
relatively unattended simmering. The finished picadillo can be covered
and refrigerated for 3 or 4 days before using.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Northern-Style Picadillo: Complete Step 2 as directed (ignore Step 1),
increasing the garlic to 4 cloves and replacing the pork with
coarse-ground beef. Stir in one 15-ounce can tomatoes (drained and
chopped), 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs, ВЅ teaspoon ground black
pepper, Вј cup raisins, 20 to 25 green olives (pitted and chopped) and
salt to taste. Simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.
Shredded Pork Picadillo: Simmer 1ВЅ pounds cubed, boneless pork
shoulder in salted water until very tender. Strain, cool and finely shred
the meat. Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing ground pork with
the shredded. (You will need a little more oil.)
Oaxacan Picadillo with Fried Plantain: Prepare the recipe as directed.
While the filling is simmering, fry 1 small, very ripe plantain (diced)
in a little vegetable oil over medium heat until browned. Add to the
filling with the almonds.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Red-Chile Picadillo: Toast and soak 4 large chiles anchos (stemmed
and seeded). Reduce the tomatoes to Вѕ pound (or a 15-ounce can) and
blend with the drained chiles; strain. Prepare the picadillo as directed
in Steps 2 and 3, adding the chile mixture where the tomatoes are
called for and simmering over medium-low heat.
198 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Potatoes with Chorizo Sausage
POTATOES WITH
MEXICAN SAUSAGE
Papas y Chorizo
There is a bare glass bulb that hangs over most of the outdoor taco
stalls, and it casts its unfocused illumination on an earthy scene that
smells of fire and substance. Sausage and potatoes sizzle on the
metal and crackle out that unmistakable, penetrating savor; alongside
are piles of chiles whose piquancy you can feel. These are the environs for tacos, nighttime street tacos, and the enjoyment of them
is as much for the oily tortillas and energizing sauce as it is for the
taste of comradeship, green earth and hot fires.
Traditionally, this potato-chorizo filling is paired with Fresh Green
Tomatillo Sauce, plus a sprinkling of fresh coriander (cilantro) and
chopped onion. Untraditionally, it makes a good stuffing for mushroom caps.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 199
YIELD:
about 3 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
4 medium-small (about 1 pound total) boiling potatoes like
the red-skinned ones, halved
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces (1 cup) chorizo sausage, store-bought or homemade,
casing removed
1 small onion, diced
Salt, if necessary
1. The potatoes. Boil the halved potatoes in salted water to cover
until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, peel if you wish, then cut
into Вѕ-inch dice.
2. The chorizo. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-low,
add the chorizo and cook, stirring to break up any clumps, until done,
about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, leaving behind as much
fat as possible. Pour off all but enough fat to coat the bottom of the
pan.
3. Finishing the mixture. About 20 minutes before serving, fry the
onions and potatoes over medium heat until well browned, about
15 minutes; regularly scrape up any sticking bits of potato so they
won’t burn. Add the chorizo to the potatoes, stir well and let heat for
several minutes. Season with salt, if necessary, and you’re ready to
serve.
200 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start to finish, this filling can be prepared in about 40 minutes.
Complete the first two steps up to a day ahead, reserving the chorizo
fat; cover and refrigerate the components. Complete Step 3 shortly
before serving. The finished dish can be kept warm in a low oven,
lightly covered with foil, for ВЅ hour; or it may be reheated in a shallow
layer, uncovered, in a 400В° oven, just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Potatoes and Chorizo with Varied Flavors and Textures: Choose any
or all of the following: Add 1 large tomato (roasted or boiled, peeled
and chopped) to the browned potato mixture, let it reduce a little, then
add the chorizo; add Вј cup water along with the cooked chorizo to give
the filling a more homogeneous texture; add 1 large chile poblano
(roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced) shortly before adding the chorizo.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Chorizo, Potato and Plantain: Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing
half the potatoes with a scant cup of diced ripe plantain (frying them
all together in Step 3), and adding a few raisins, toasted slivered
almonds, and/or chile chipotle (seeded and sliced).
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 201
Slivered Beef with Well-Browned Onions
SLIVERED BEEF WITH
WELL-BROWNED ONIONS
Bistec Encebollado
Portable, butane-fired griddles show up at dusk in parks and on
street corners through most of the country, penetrating the outdoor
odors with the aroma of searing meat and sweet browned onions.
This is an easy dish to get a passion for, served in hot flour or corn
tortillas, with a little Chunky Guacamole or Red-Chile Sauce.
YIELD:
about 2 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
1 pound thin-cut pan-fryable steaks like those called sandwich
steaks or flip steaks, or even skirt steaks (see Ingredients in
Cook’s Notes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired
202 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
About 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced or sliced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1. The meat. Trim the beef of excess fat and sprinkle with salt and
pepper. Over medium-high, heat enough vegetable oil to nicely coat
the bottom of a large, heavy skillet. When it is searingly hot, brown
the steak for 1 to 2 minutes on each side; for cuts like skirt, be careful
not to cook past medium-rare. Remove to a wire rack set over a plate
and keep warm in a low oven; reduce the heat under the skillet to
medium.
2. The onion. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until a deep golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the
garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.
3. Finishing the mixture. Cut the meat into thin strips (across the
grain, for skirt steak); for tougher cuts of meat, cut into ВЅ-inch pieces.
When the onion mixture is ready, add the beef to the skillet and stir
until heated through. Season with salt and serve in a deep, warm
bowl.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 203
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Searing the Meat: If you sear the meat in a hot pan, you’ll get a nice
flavor and a good crust; if the pan isn’t hot, you’ll find pale meat
simmering in its juices.
Ingredients
The Meat: The Mexican bisteces often used in this preparation are taken
from the tougher cuts (frequently the round) and pounded. Choose
thin round steaks (often sold as breakfast steaks, sandwich steaks, flip
steaks, wafer steaks or perhaps under other names) and pound them
if necessary; or choose any thin steak tender enough to pan-fry. I like
trimmed skirt steak because of its flavor and texture. Frequently,
Mexican street vendors use the sheets of Thin-Sliced Beef (Cecina; it’s
tougher, so they chop it into small pieces.
Timing and Advance Preparation
About 25 minutes are needed to make this dish; nothing can be
prepared in advance.
CONTEMPORARY VARIATIONS
Minor Variations on the Theme: The meat may be marinated. It may
also be fried in olive oil. Red onions may replace white, 4 roasted cloves
of garlic could be used instead of raw ones. And strips of just about
any roasted and peeled chile could be stirred in with the meat.
PAN-FRIED CHILEMARINATED PORK
Puerco Enchilado a la Plancha
I know of this quintessentially Mexican-flavored filling not from the
mobile street griddles, but from the more permanent busstation and
market taquerГ­as in Toluca, Oaxaca, San Luis PotosГ­ and Chilpancingo,
Guerrero, where chile-marinated pork is a specialty. It’s at its best
laid across a fresh tortilla, sprinkled with Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce
and topped with Roasted Pepper Rajas.
YIELD:
course
about 2 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
204 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
About 1 pound (1 recipe) Chile-Marinated Pork
About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Frying the meat. Cut the meat into lengths that will fit into your
skillet, then smooth the adobo marinade into a light, even coating.
About 15 minutes before serving, set a large skillet over medium
heat and measure in the oil (there should be enough to coat the
bottom nicely). When it is hot, lay in as much meat as will comfortably fit in the pan, and fry until cooked through: Meat that is 1/8
inch thick will take about 2 minutes per side.
Remove the meat to a wire rack set over a large plate, and keep
warm in a low oven. Continue frying batches of the meat, adding a
little more oil to the skillet, if necessary. After the last batch has been
fried, let the meat rest for a couple of minutes in a low oven.
2. Serving. The moment you’re ready to serve, cut the meat across
the grain into thin strips, place in a deep, warm bowl and carry to
the table.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 205
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Frying Chile-Coated Meat: Choose a well-seasoned (or Teflon-coated)
skillet and keep the fire at medium, so the adobo (“chile marinade”)
won’t stick and burn. With a light coat of adobo, a good layer of oil in
the right pan and a medium heat, any bits of adobo that come off into
the oil will not burn during at least two batches of frying.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The marinated pork can be ready in 15 mintues; it shouldn’t be fried
in advance.
SOFT TACOS WITH FILLINGS
FROM THE CHARCOAL GRILL
Tacos al CarbГіn
For years, would-be sophisticates of the Mexican food scene have
looked right over the wood fires and the heaps of smoldering charcoal that seared thin slabs of meat and radiated their heat into pots
of beans and pozole and menudo. In Mexico, the gourmands still
mostly brush that cooking aside as primitive—good only for a steak
or slow-roasted kid, but not for serious cooking. But I was reared in
a family that put bread on its table by putting hickory-smoked meats
on the tables of others, so I’ve always been more captivated by what
a smoky fire can do than by any powers of a blue gas flame or a safe
electric burner.
Charcoal-grilled meat (and tacos made from it) has been a specialty
of the North for a long time. But the spreading popularity of tacos
al carbГіn has led people to put in taquerГ­as with charcoal grills across
much of the country; many even serve the Northern flour tortillas,
if they can get them.
Tacos al carbГіn is an easy summer supper or picnic: Just prepare
a couple of side dishes to fill in, then charcoal-grill some skirt steak
according to the recipe that follows (or prepare one of the variations)
and bring it to the table for the hungry to make into solid “main
course” tacos. If given half a chance, I’d choose to invite 8 or 10
people for a relaxed afternoon cookout, but first I’d make sure my
206 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
grill was the right size. It should be large enough to hold a 12-inch
square of aluminum foil for cooking the green onions, an 8-inchdiameter pot for beans, another pot for warm corn tortillas, and have
space left over for grilling the meat. To the side, you need a cutting
board and knife, plus an easily accessible spot for all the condiments.
Build the bulk of your fire under the open part of the grill, letting a
few coals stay below the foil and the two pots. Grill some onions
slowly, then heap them up entirely on the foil. Pass small bowls of
beans, then grill your prepared meat(s) a little at a time, serving each
batch with onions and a stack of hot tortillas.
Preparing the tortillas: About 20 minutes before serving, steamheat the corn tortillas as described. Just before serving, set them to
the back of the grill (where they will keep warm for 45 minutes or
longer). Griddle-heated tortillas are common with tacos al carbГіn,
but they are generally impractical for home grilling. Flour tortillas
are also traditional with this Northern-bred fare: Heat them in
packages of 8 to 10, as directed. Keep them warm in a very low oven
and bring them out a package at a time.
COOK’S NOTES
MENU SUGGESTIONS
I lean toward serving most everything off the grill: the different meats
that follow, Charcoal-Grilled Baby Onions, Grill-Roasted Corn and
Roasted Pepper Rajas with the peppers prepared on the grill. Charro
Beans are always welcome, as are Melted Cheese with Peppers and
Chorizo, guacamole, Salsa Mexicana, Chipotle Chile Sauce and/or
Red-Chile Sauce; Pickled Red Onions aren’t traditional with this fare,
but they’re delicious. Summer dessert means an ice or ice cream to
me. Add beer, Jamaica “Flower” Cooler and Pot-Brewed Coffee, and
the meal will be as memorable as any could be.
CHARCOAL-GRILLED SKIRT STEAK
Arrachera al CarbГіn
Skirt steak, in my opinion, is one of the most delicious, beefiesttasting cuts of meat, if it’s a good-quality outside piece and well
trimmed. Charcoal-grilled, daubed with Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce
or Chunky Guacamole then wrapped with Roasted Pepper Rajas in
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 207
a flour tortilla—it is nearly the same as the Texan fajitas that have
become very popular in many parts of the United States. Meat for
fajitas is frequently marinated, as described.
Though arrachera (“skirt steak”) is commonly used only in northeastern Mexico (especially around Monterrey), cooking thin sheets
of beef over charcoal is popular throughout the North and everywhere Northerners have set up taquerГ­as. In Hermosillo, Sonora, in
fact, street, vendors of tacos de bistec have elaborate chimney-covered
charcoal grills built into pushcarts with customized condiment jars
to hold salsa roja, salsa mexicana, cucumbers, red onions and radishes.
Nearly everywhere, tacos of charcoal-grilled meat are accompanied
by lime wedges to squeeze over them.
YIELD:
about 2 cups, enough for 12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main
course
1 pound trimmed skirt steak, cut into 3-inch lengths (see
Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
1 lime, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired
1. Preliminaries. Trim the meat of most fat and all the silvery tissue,
then cover and refrigerate until grilling time. About 30 minutes before serving, light your charcoal fire and let it burn until the coals
are very hot.
2. Grilling the arrachera. About 10 minutes before serving, squeeze
a little lime over the meat, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill
over the hot coals for 2 or 3 minutes per side, depending on the
thickness of the meat and heat of the fire; the meat is best grilled to
medium-rare.
3. Cutting and serving the arrachera. Set the steak to the back of the
grill (where it isn’t hot enough to continue cooking), and let stand
several minutes to reabsorb the juices. Then cut it across the grain
into Вј-inch slices; or, alternatively, chop it into ВЅ-inch pieces. Scoop
into a small warm bowl and serve right away.
208 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Earthenware bean pots (ollas)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 209
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Trimming Skirt Steak: If you get an untrimmed piece, strip off the
elastic membrane, then trim off the surface fat and all the very tough
silvery tissue.
Ingredients
Skirt Steak: This is the diaphragm muscle: a flat 4- or 5-inch-wide
piece of meat, a foot or longer, with a clearly visible grain. There is an
inner and an outer piece, the latter being a little more tender and
flavorful. In Mexican markets in the United States, it may be called
arrachera, carne para asar (“meat for broiling”), bistec ranchero
(“ranch-style steak”) or fajitas (literally “sashes”), and it is frequently
butterflied, making two very thin steaks. For this recipe, I recommend
nonbutterflied, small, outer skirt steaks. Other candidates for grilling
are listed; each will work for these tacos, but the texture will be
different.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Skirt steak takes only a few minutes to prepare; the trimming can be
done in advance.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Oaxacan Market-Style Grilled Pork: Cut 1 pound Chile-Marinated
Pork into 6-inch lengths, smooth the adobo into a light coating and
brush both sides with oil. Grill over a medium fire for 2 or 3 minutes
per side, slice across the grain and serve with Roasted Pepper Rajas,
Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce and warm tortillas.
Grilled Chicken with Green Chiles: Prepare ВЅ recipe Charcoal-Grilled
Chicken. Cut the meat off the bones, chop into 1-inch squares, mix
with 1 recipe Roasted Pepper Rajas and serve with tortillas.
CRISPY-FRIED TACOS
Tacos Dorados
With the predictable regularity of changing traffic signals, people
in the cities come to sit together in the brightly lit Mexican coffee
shops they know as cafeterГ­as. These are spots for the tasty snacks
that are common indoors, like tostadas and the cylindrical, crispy,
210 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chicken-filled tacos dorados (or tacos de pollo) with guacamole and
thick cream.
This typical version makes a great light meal with the addition of
Frijoles Refritos. For a special winter supper, serve them with bowls
of Shrimp-Ball Soup with Roasted Pepper.
YIELD:
12 tacos, serving 4 as a light main course
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled and
roughly chopped
OR about Вѕ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and roughly
chopped
ВЅ small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
1 large (1Вј-pound) whole chicken breast, cooked, skinned,
boned and shredded
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
12 corn tortillas, preferably thin store-bought ones
Вѕ cup vegetable oil
8 large leaves romaine lettuce, for garnish
ВЅ cup Thick Cream or commercial sour cream thinned with 2
tablespoons milk or cream
About 1ВЅ cups (ВЅ recipe) Chunky Guacamole (optional)
1 tablespoon crumbled Mexican queso fresco or queso aГ±ejo,
or other cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese, for garnish
Several radish slices or roses, for garnish
1. The filling. Combine the tomato, onion and garlic in a blender
or food processor and process until very smooth. Heat the tablespoon
of lard or oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high. When quite
hot, add the puree and stir constantly until it is thick and reduced,
about 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken, remove from the heat and season
with salt.
2. Assembling the tacos. If the tortillas are moist, let them dry out
in a single layer for a few minutes. Heat Вј cup of the oil in a mediumsize skillet over medium-high. When quite hot, quick-fry the tortillas
one at a time to soften them, 2 to 3 seconds per side. Drain well on
paper towels. Place 2 tablespoons of filling across each tortilla, roll
up and secure with toothpicks (sliding them into the flap while
holding them almost parallel to it). Cover with plastic wrap.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 211
3. Frying the tacos. Add the remaining ВЅ cup of oil to what is in
the skillet and heat over medium-high. When quite hot, lay in half
the tacos. Fry, turning occasionally, until all sides are lightly browned
and crispy, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm
in a low oven while frying the remainder.
4. Garnish and presentation. Line a platter with half the romaine
leaves; slice the remainder into 3/8-inch strips and spread over the
center. Arrange the tacos side by side over the lettuce and drizzle
with cream. Dollop the optional guacamole down the center and
sprinkle with cheese and/or radish slices; arrange the optional radish
roses decoratively.
Crispy-fried tacos
212 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Corn Tortillas:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With chicken and guacamole ready, the tacos take 45 minutes. You
can make the filling a day in advance; cover and refrigerate. The tacos
may be rolled 1 hour ahead; fry them just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Northern-Style Beef Flautas: Replace the chicken filling with ВЅ recipe
Northern-Style Shredded Beef, completing this recipe as directed.
Flautas of a Different Sort: Choose 24 very thin corn tortillas. Prepare
the recipe as directed, forming long flautas by overlapping 2 quick-fried
tortillas about 2 inches, then spreading the filling down the length and
rolling up very tightly. Fry in a large skillet.
Regional Explorations
From Guadalajara north, tacos are generally folded and fried,
frequently with pork inside; anything with a tubular look gets called
a flauta (literally “flute”) and is often filled with beef. In Guerrero,
there are thin rolled taquitos stuffed with ricotta. And in MГ©rida,
YucatГЎn, the cooks fill crisp tortilla tubes (resembling Italian cannoli
shells) with ground-meat picadillo and douse them with tomato sauce
(codzitos). Only on the northern border do U-shaped,
hamburger-stuffed tacos show up; I think it’s clear which way the
influence is going.
BURRITOS WITH SPICY
SHREDDED JERKY
Burritos de Machaca
Deann and I had driven hundreds of uneventful miles, most of it
through sun-bleached expanses of Baja California’s fascinating, unpopulated terrain; so it was a pleasure to roll into the cool, shaded
center of San Ignacio. We found a place to eat and rest, and, like
most every little eating place we’d passed, the menu consisted mostly
of burritos de machaca. But in this isolated town, we got the real stuff:
Rather than serving up the easy boiled-beef version I expected, the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 213
owner-cook took down a piece of homemade beef jerky, roasted and
pounded it, fried it with vegetables and rolled it into flour tortillas.
It is her recipe for jerky that is on, and her recipe for this rustic, fullflavored burrito filling.
Served as a light main course, these burritos need only a little Salsa
Picante, a green salad and some Charro Beans to make a very memorable meal.
8 to 10 burritos with about 2ВЅ cups filling, serving 3 to 4 as
a light meal
YIELD:
8 to 10 flour tortillas, store-bought or homemade
For the filling:
4 ounces beef jerky, store-bought or homemade
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
1 large onion, diced
2 fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled, seeded and diced
2 ripe, medium-small tomatoes, cored and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
jerky)
1. The tortillas. If the tortillas are not hot, heat them as directed.
2. The filling. About ВЅ hour before serving, broil and shred the
jerky as described in Step 1 on (there should be about 2 cups).
Heat the lard or oil in a medium-large skillet over medium-high.
When quite hot, add the onion and fry, stirring frequently, until
beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the jerky, reduce the heat
to medium and stir frequently until the mixture is well browned, 5 to
7 minutes. (If the meat absorbs all the oil, add a little more, so the
mixture fries and browns rather than toasts and burns.) Stir in the
chile, tomato and garlic and cook several minutes, until the mixture
is homogeneous. Season carefully with salt (jerky can vary widely
in its saltiness).
3. The burritos. When the machaca mixture is ready, make the
burritos by rolling Вј cup of filling into each hot flour tortilla. Place
them on a warm platter and serve at once.
214 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
fresh poblano chiles
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 215
COOK’S NOTES
TechniquesIngredients
Jerky:. If jerky is unavailable, use 1 pound brisket, simmered until
tender, then finely shredded as directed. Complete Step 2, browning
the meat with the onions.
Chile Poblano: Other fresh chiles frequently appear in machaca: 2 long
green chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded and diced) or hot green chiles to
taste (seeded and diced).
Timing and Advance Preparation
This dish takes a little over ВЅ hour. The shredding and chopping can
be done in advance, but complete the filling just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Burritos with a Variety of Fillings: The machaca can be replaced with
2 to 2ВЅ cups of practically any taco filling, or with a combination of
Frijoles Refritos and a melting cheese like mild cheddar (rolled, covered
with foil and baked until the cheese begins to melt).
Chivichangas: In Sonora and vicinity, they make long, thin, crisp-fried
burritos—cousins to our large, egg roll—shaped chimichangas. Cut
four 10-inch, store-bought flour tortillas in half. Divide 3 cups
Northern-Style Shredded Beef among the halves, roll up tightly and
secure with toothpicks. Fry in 3/8 inch hot oil until crisp. Drain, and
serve on a bed of sliced lettuce. Strew with chopped tomato and dollop
with mayonnaise or my simple avocado mayonnaise: blend 1 avocado,
ВЅ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, a little chopped onion,
4 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro) and salt to taste.
Kitchen Spanish
While burritos are common throughout Northern Mexico, they are
called simply tacos de harina (literally “wheat tacos”) as you approach
the east coast, and burritas in most Northern-style restaurants outside
the North.
TURNOVERS
Quesadillas y Empanadas
Whatever they call them—quesadillas, empanadas, molotes, tlacoyos,
even enchiladas in the confusing jargon of San Luis Potosí—they’re
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deliciously stuffed pockets of Mexican flavor, bearers of well-spiced
vegetables, meats and cheese, transporters of chile-spiked hot sauce
or smooth guacamole. On the streets or in the markets, they’re made
for the midmorning almuerzos or late-evening cenas of folks on their
way to or from. In the restaurants, they turn into nice entremeses
(“appetizers”) to have before the more serious eating starts. In my
home, I make them with all their regional casings—from corn masa
to flour-tortilla dough—and I fry or griddle-bake them to offer with
drinks, to set in a basket on the table as an informal appetizer or to
feature at a light lunch or supper. Following are the recipes for many
of the well-known regional varieties.
Keys to Frying Perfect Masa Creations
Getting the Oil Temperature Right: As with all frying, work with a
heavy pan and a thermometer. Keep the oil at 375В°; cool oil means
greasy food.
Judging Doneness: Anything made from masa harina darkens more
quickly than that made from fresh masa; so fried masa harina creations
must be well browned for them to be done. Any masa creations will
turn out greasy if not fried long enough.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 217
Deep-Fried Cheese Quesadillas
DEEP-FRIED MASA
TURNOVERS WITH CHEESE
Quesadillas Fritas
The quesadilla: crisp-fried so the crunchy exterior gives way to soft,
218 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
corny masa and melted or spicy insides. They’re one of Central
Mexico’s favorite and most common edibles, made everywhere from
the capital’s finest restaurants to the makeshift snack parlors. Some
of the best ones, I think, come from the snack market in CoyoacГЎn,
a wealthy sector of Mexico City, where the turnovers are stuffed
with everything from tripe to the musty, gray-black corn mushrooms
(huitlacoche) and back home to the simple queso (“cheese”) that gives
the quesadilla its name.
Though powdered masa harina is not my favorite, it works well
here. For an easy special supper, serve quesadillas with TlalpeГ±o Soup;
and you always need a little Guacamole with Tomatillos, Red-Chile
Sauce, or Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce to daub on them.
YIELD: 12 medium turnovers, serving 4 as a light meal, 6 as a hearty
appetizer
For the dough:
1 pound fresh masa
OR 1Вѕ cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
hot tap water
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
Вј cup flour (1/3 cup if using masa harina)
A generous ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
10 ounces (about 2ВЅ cups) grated melting cheese like Monterey
Jack or a mild cheddar, plus 12 leaves epazote (optional)
OR 10 ounces (about 2ВЅ cups) crumbled Mexican queso fresco
or other fresh cheese like farmer’s cheese, plus 12 leaves
epazote (optional)
OR about 1ВЅ cups (1 recipe) of any quesadilla filling
For frying:
Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch
1. The dough. If you are using masa harina, mix it with the hot water,
cover and let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Mix the fresh or reconstituted
masa with the lard or shortening, flour, salt and baking powder. If
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 219
necessary, correct the consistency of the dough, as described in detail.
Divide into 12 balls and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Forming the quesadillas. Divide the filling into 12 portions; if you
are using cheese, press each portion into a flat oval about 2 Г— 2ВЅ
inches. Using a tortilla press, flatten a ball of the dough between
sheets of plastic to make a medium-large (5-inch), thickish tortilla
(further details on the process. Remove the top piece of plastic. Lay
one portion of filling across half the uncovered tortilla, leaving a ВЅinch border around the edge; if the filling is cheese, top with a leaf
of the optional epazote. Slip a hand under the plastic beneath the
uncovered side of the tortilla, then carefully fold the tortilla over the
filling. Press the edges together to seal.
filling laid on unbaked tortilla
Next, peel the plastic off the top of the turnover, then flip the
turnover onto one hand, uncovered-side down, and peel the plastic
off the bottom. Lay on a tray covered with plastic wrap. Continue
making the remaining masa balls into turnovers and lay each one
several inches from the next to ensure easy retrieval. Cover with
plastic.
220 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
folding tortilla to unclose filling
3. Frying. Heat the oil to 375В°, then fry the turnovers 2 or 3 at a
time, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels
and keep warm in a low oven until all are ready. Serve right away.
Unmolding quesadilla from plastic
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 221
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Frying Quesadillas: These may be shallow-fried in ВЅ inch vegetable
oil over medium-high heat; though, as the filling heats, steam can
break through the uncooked top. To avoid greasy fried pies, flip them
every ВЅ minute, cooking both sides evenly. For more notes.
Timing and Advance Preparation
It takes about 45 minutes to prepare the cheese-filled turnovers; allow
30 minutes longer to reconstitute masa harina. If the filling is a dry one,
the turnovers can be formed a day ahead, coverd and refrigerated.
Fry the quesadillas when you’re ready to eat them; if held too long in
a warm oven they become tough.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Griddle-Baked Quesadillas: Prepare the dough as directed in Step 1,
using fresh masa and omitting the flour and baking powder. Heat a
griddle (or heavy skillet) over medium. Press out a tortilla using a
tortilla press, then unmold it (see for details) and lay it on the griddle.
When it loosens itself (about 30 seconds), spoon 2 tablespoons of the
filling on one side, then fold the uncovered side over and seal around
the filling by pressing the edges together. When browned underneath
(about 2 minutes), flip and bake 2 or 3 minutes longer, until the folded
edge feels firm and dry. Serve immediately.
Easy Griddle-Baked Cheese Quesadillas: These are popular through
much of Mexico, especially the North (where they’re often made with
flour tortillas). Frequently, fried onions, roasted peppers, shredded
beef or chicken, slivered ham, even slivers of steak or flaked fish will
go in with the cheese. Heat a griddle over medium and lightly oil it.
Lay on several already-baked tortillas (store-bought or homemade)
and spread 1/3 cup (about 1ВЅ ounces) grated melting cheese over
each one; top with any of the above-mentioned additions. When the
cheese begins to melt, fold the tortillas in half, then griddle-bake until
crispy, flipping occasionally.
Regional Explorations
Though most common in Central Mexico, these little turnovers can
appear just about anywhere in the country, with whatever fillings the
cooks know will please their customers, and with names like
quesadilla, empanada (Southern and Yucatecan Mexico) and molote
(Puebla and Veracruz).
222 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
TURNOVER FILLINGS
Rellenos para Quesadillas
The following fillings come primarily from Central Mexico: Pueblan
vendors fill their small, fried turnovers with concoctions heavy in
strips of green chile, while their large griddle-baked turnovers get
my favorite Shredded Pork Tinga. Near Cuernavaca, the cooks fry
quesadillas filled with shredded chicken, minced pork or beef picadillo,
and black corn mushrooms (huitlacoche), as well as the deliciously
pungent brains with epazote, and the mushrooms with green chile
outlined below. In Toluca, large quesadillas show up with a filling of
squash blossoms; the recipe follows, should you be lucky enough
to lay your hands on some of the delicate flowers. And on the coasts,
crab, shrimp and poached fish find their way into turnovers. Though
I haven’t seen them used in Mexico, Northern-Style Shredded Beef
and Potatoes with Chorizo are good turnover fillings, too.
POTATOES AND GREEN CHILES
Papas con Rajas
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
2 small (about 6 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the
red-skinned ones, halved
1ВЅ tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
ВЅ small onion, thinly sliced
3 medium, fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Вѕ cup (about 3 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other
fresh cheese like mild domestic goat or farmer’s cheese
1. The potatoes. Simmer the potatoes in salted water to cover until
tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool under running water, peel and
cut into Вј-inch dice.
2. Frying the mixture. Heat the lard or oil in a heavy medium-size
skillet over medium. Add the onion and potato, and fry, stirring
regularly to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, until the mixture
is nicely browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are browning, seed the chiles and slice them
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 223
into 1/8-inch strips. Stir them into the potato mixture, season with
salt, remove from the fire and stir in the cheese. Scrape into a small
dish and cool before using.
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: If these are unavailable, replace them with 4 long
green chiles (roasted and peeled) or 4 or 5 of the hotter chiles jalapeГ±os
(roasted, seeded and deveined).
Timing and Advance Preparation
This filling can be finished in about ВЅ hour; it keeps well for several
days, covered and refrigerated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fresh Cheese with Green Chiles: Mix the sliced chiles with 8 ounces
(2 cups) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like mild
domestic goat or farmer’s cheese and (optionally) 8 leaves epazote
(chopped).
Scrambled Eggs and Green Chiles: Fry Вј cup chopped onion in 1
tablespoon lard or vegetable oil until soft, then stir in the sliced chiles
and increase the temperature to medium-high. Add 4 eggs (lightly
beaten) and scramble until firm; season with salt. Cool before using.
BRAINS WITH PUNGENT
MEXICAN SEASONINGS
Sesos con Epazote
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
12 to 14 ounces (1 pair beef or 1ВЅ pairs veal) brains
ВЅ large lime, juiced
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed, seeded and finely minced
1 large sprig epazote, leaves removed and minced (1 generous
tablespoon)
224 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
OR 6 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), stemmed and finely
chopped
Вј medium onion, finely chopped
Salt, about Вј teaspoon
1. The brains. Soak the brains in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain
and peel off the thin outer membrane. Soak in salted water for an
hour more and drain again. Place the brains in a medium-size
saucepan with enough salted water to cover; add the lime juice.
Bring barely to a simmer, then cook over medium to medium-low
heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until the brains are firm and white when
cut into. Cool for ½ hour in their liquid, if there’s time. Drain, dry
with paper towels and trim off any extraneous tissue.
2. Finishing the mixture. In a mixing bowl, coarsely mash the brains.
Stir in the chile, epazote (or coriander), onion and salt to taste. Cool
thoroughly before using.
Epazote
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 225
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Soaking, Trimming and Poaching the Brains: Soaking brains rids them
of excess blood—which can give them an off flavor and color. You
may peel off the thin outer layer after the initial soaking or after you
poach them (when the brains are more manageable, but the membrane
comes off in frustratingly small patches). When poaching, it is
important to keep the water at a gentle simmer so the brains don’t
break apart.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start the filling at least 3 hours ahead; active involvement is only about
½ hour. Brains should be served the same day they’re cooked.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Golden-Fried Brains: Cut the poached, dried brains into Вј-inch cubes
and fry in vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until golden.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and cool.
STEWED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
Flores de Calabaza Guisadas
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
20 good-size, fresh squash blossoms
ВЅ medium onion, diced
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o) stemmed, seeded and finely minced
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
1 medium-large tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled and
chopped
OR 2/3 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
Several epazote leaves, chopped
OR a small handful fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley,
chopped
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
2 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh
cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
226 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1. The squash blossoms. Clean the squash blossoms by removing
the stamens from inside the flowers and trimming off tough-looking
bases (the calyxes). Rinse them well and cut them crosswise into ВЅinch sections.
2. The filling. In a medium-size skillet set over medium heat, fry
the onion and chile in lard or vegetable oil for about 5 minutes, until
tender. Add the tomato, along with the sliced flowers and epazote.
Cover and let the mixture steam over medium-low heat until the
flowers are tender, about 8 minutes. Uncover, season with salt and
sprinkle with cheese. Scoop into a small dish to cool before using.
Squash blossoms (flores de calabaza)
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Squash Blossoms: See the notes on locating, storing and preparing
squash blossoms.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow about ВЅ hour to prepare the filling. It can be made 1 day ahead;
cover and refrigerate.
STEWED MUSHROOMS WITH
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 227
ONIONS AND GARLIC
Hongos Guisados
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped into ВЅ-inch
pieces
ВЅ medium onion, diced
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 chiles serranos or 1
chile jalapeГ±o), stemmed, seeded and finely minced
2
/3 cup any poultry broth or water
ВЅ small lime, juiced
1 tablespoon lard, bacon drippings or fat rendered from chorizo
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled and
roughly chopped
OR Вѕ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1ВЅ tablespoons chopped epazote (optional)
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
1. Cooking the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms, onion, chile, broth
or water, lime juice and lard or other fat in a medium-size saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and cook 3 minutes.
Uncover and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the
mushrooms begin to fry in the fat.
2. Finishing the mixture. While the mushrooms are cooking, puree
the tomato with the garlic in a blender or food processor. When the
mushrooms begin to fry, add the tomato mixture and optional
epazote, and cook about 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and
the mixture is thick. Season with salt and cool before using.
228 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
The filling can be completed in about 30 minutes. It will keep for
several days; store it covered in the refrigerator.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Simple Mushroom Filling: At the roadside stands, they make a simple
filling by frying the chopped mushrooms in the lard or oil over
medium heat. When all the liquid evaporates, the onion, chile and
epazote are added, it’s stirred for several minutes, then removed from
the heat.
CRISPY WHEAT-FLOUR TURNOVERS
WITH WELL-SEASONED MEAT
Empanadas de Picadillo
Through the North, where flour tortillas are a part of the everyday
routine, cooks in restaurants and snack shops make turnovers from
the wheat-flour dough, folding them over a savory meat filling
studded with nuts and olives, then slipping them into the hot oil to
fry golden and crispy. After I learned to make them in the northeast,
I had hoped to see them more frequently than I did in my journey
westward across the northern land. They do, however, show up
frequently on my table, served as a light meal with Salsa Picante,
guacamole and a salad or soup like the Sopa XГіchitl. On occasion,
I’ll make half-size turnovers to pass around as an appetizer or to
take on a picnic.
twelve 6-inch turnovers, serving 4 as a light main course, 6
as a hearty appetizer
YIELD:
For the dough:
Вѕ pound (about 2Вѕ cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra
for rolling the dough
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
OR 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 229
Вѕ teaspoon salt
About Вѕ cup very warm tap water
For filling and frying:
1 recipe (about 3 generous cups) Minced-Pork Picadillo or
Northern-Style Picadillo, cooled to room temperature
Oil for deep frying, to a depth of 1 inch
1. The dough. As described in the recipe for flour tortillas, measure
the flour into a bowl, then thoroughly work in the fat. Dissolve the
salt in the hot water, then work it into the flour mixture, making a
medium-stiff dough. Knead several minutes until smooth.
2. Resting. Divide the dough into 12 portions, roll each into a ball,
set on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes
(to make the dough easier to roll).
3. Forming the empanadas. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a
portion of dough into a 7-inch-diameter circle (details of the process
are in Step 3. Very lightly brush the perimeter with water, then scoop
about Вј cup of filling onto one side. Fold the uncovered side over
the filling, expelling as much air as possible, then press the two edges
firmly together. Lay the empanada on a baking sheet; continue
forming turnovers with the remaining balls of dough. Firmly seal
the empanadas by pressing the two edges together with the tines of
a fork or by making the rope edge described below.
4. The optional decorative rope edge. Hold an empanada in one hand;
with the thumb and first finger of the other hand, pinch out a ВЅ-inch
section of the dough on the nearest end, flattening it so that it extends
out Вј inch beyond the rest of the edge. With your thumb, curl over
the top half of the pinched-out section of dough (it should look like
a wave breaking), then gently press it down to secure it. Now, pinch
out the next ВЅ-inch section of dough, curl the top side over, and
press it down. Continue until you reach the other end. Fold the last
pinched-out section back on itself, finishing the seal. Complete the
rope edge on the remaining empanadas and return them to the baking
sheet.
230 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Pinching out empanada edge
forming rope edge
5. Frying the empanadas. About 15 minutes before serving, heat the
oil to 375В° Fry the empanadas 2 or 3 at a time, until deep golden, 2 to
3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low
oven until all are fried. Serve at once.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 231
Picadillo-stuffed empanadas
232 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Preparing the Dough: The technique notes will be helpful.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With the filling on hand, the empanadas can be ready to fry in 1 hour,
half of which is for the unattended “relaxation” of the dough. If the
filling isn’t juicy, the empanadas can be formed 1 day ahead, covered
and refrigerated. Fry them just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Empanadas with Local Flavors: Practically all Mexican communities
make empanadas and fill them with what they have or can afford: 3
cups shredded meat or chicken, Northern-Style Shredded Beef, lightly
cooked vegetables, Roasted Pepper Rajas and melting cheese like
Monterey Jack or mild cheddar—the possibilities are inexhaustible.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Lamb Empanadas with Fresh Coriander: Mix 3 cups shredded lamb
(from cubed lamb simmered until tender or from leftover roast) with
ВЅ small onion (finely chopped), 2 tablespoons toasted, ground guajillo
or New Mexico chile, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
and salt to taste. Form the empanadas as directed, using the lamb filling;
fry and serve with saucy Guacamole with Tomatillos.
Mexican Explorations
Uniformed children home from school, women with fully packed
bolsas, businessmen and workmen—nearly every member of the
Mexican constituency files into the fragrant, glassed-in, self-service
bakeries, picks up a tray and a pair of tongs and chooses a mound
from the dozens of simple sweet breads, cookies, plain pastries, warm
crusty bolillos and turnovers in several flavors: apple, pineapple, sweet
potato or pumpkin. On Fridays and all through Lent, many of the
bakers fill them with tuna before they go into the oven.
ENCHILADAS AND THEIR
RELATIVES
Enchiladas y Sus Parientes
Many workers migrated from their West-Central homeland to Los
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 233
Angeles and to Chicago, where I live, carrying with them a feel for
enchiladas of chile-dipped tortillas—quick-fried so the sauce penetrates and adheres, then topped with a little fried potatoes and carrots
and sprinkled with cheese. They’re light fare, to be eaten gingerly
with fingertips; and they’re the only enchiladas that show up on the
streets.
In Mexico, you’ll find enchiladas mostly in coffee shops, though,
since many varieties have substantial fillings and are more involved
than much of the street food. Still, they’ve never graduated to a spot
in the afternoon comida: It seems any dish that involves tortillas or
the like will always carry the stigma of inconsequentiality, of being
an antojito. And that’s too bad, since enchiladas make beautiful main
courses, featuring a wide variety of traditional fillings and sauces.
This is a collection of four distinctive regional recipes, which I’ve
taken the liberty to group together because all involve dipping tortillas in sauce (though the sauce may not contain much chile or the
final dish be called an enchilada). There are the legitimate enchiladas
like those in tomatillo-chile sauce, mole or the West-Central or
Northern red-chile sauces; but the same idea is used for Oaxacan
enfrijoladas dipped in a savory bean sauce, the tomato-sauced entomatadas, the stack of tortillas, black beans and fish they call pan de
cazГіn, or even the Yucatecan papadzules with their egg stuffing and
pepita sauce. Many areas have variations on this traditional theme.
There are three approaches to making enchiladas, and I’ve included a recipe using each one. When the sauce is an uncooked
puree of soaked red chiles, the tortillas are dipped before they’re
fried. For a fully cooked sauce of tomatillos, tomatoes or mole, the
tortillas are quick-fried before dipping (to make them more pliable
as well as resistant to quick softening in the sauce). And some cooks
with really fresh tortillas and a fully cooked sauce will omit the tortilla frying altogether, simply saucing the fresh tortillas and serving
them quickly (before they soften too much). The flavor and texture
changes with each approach, so make them all, then begin to work
out your own variations on your favorites.
Keys to Perfect Enchiladas
Quick-Frying Tortillas for Enchiladas of the Fried-Then-Sauced Category:
The tortillas should be dried until they feel somewhat leathery or
they will absorb a lot of oil. Fry them quickly and drain them well:
234 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
The goal is to “soften” the tortillas, making them pliable enough to
roll without cracking; they should not crisp in the least.
Baking Enchiladas: Except for the newly popular enchiladas suizas,
enchiladas in Mexico are not generally baked: They are put together
with warm ingredients just before serving, though they never arrive
at the table as piping hot as most North Americans would like. So
I recommend baking the enchiladas for a few minutes after they’re
sauced. But don’t leave them too long in the oven or they’ll come
out mushy, and keep the sauce on the thin side, since it will thicken
a little during baking.
Kitchen Spanish
In Spanish, to enchilar something is, in some way or another, to
get chile all over it; a tortilla enchilada (or just plain enchilada for short)
is one of the common corn cakes that is dipped in a chile-spiked
sauce, rolled or folded, filled or not; and it can have as many possible
flavors as there are Mexican sauces.
For the purpose of this book, I have developed my own functional
definition, though: Any of the sauced tortilla dishes get lumped together under the heading enchilada. It is my valiant attempt to bring
order to linguistic chaos. Where shape is definitive in Mexico, anything rolled in a tortilla is a taco, sauced or not; a simple tortilla dipped
in sauce might be called an enchilada in those places—but it would
only be folded or quartered, not rolled or stuffed. Some places they
differentiate the dipping sauce in the name: enfrijolada for a sauce of
frijoles (“beans”), enmoladas for a sauce made of mole, and so on. And
to complicate things further, sometimes you’ll run into the sauced
tortilla folded over a filling and called an envuelto. Most cookbooks
from Mexico seem to welcome all this complication and contradiction
and will list virtually the same recipe various times under the different regional names, often with only the shape modified.
CHICKEN-FILLED
ENCHILADAS WITH TANGY
TOMATILLO SAUCE
Enchiladas Verdes
Here is a recipe for the classic Mexican enchiladas, the ones that
combine a flavor that is traditionally tart and piquant with the mealy
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 235
meatiness of corn tortillas, the tenderness of chicken and a sharp,
salty adornment of aged Mexican cheese. They’re rolled up and
sauced in cafeterГ­as (especially the new, bright chain restaurants)
everywhere—and with above-average fervor in the heartland sections
of Central and West-Central Mexico. They’re simple to make, easy
to enjoy and attractively filling. Make a traditional supper of them
by adding some Frijoles Refritos, a plate of crunchy jГ­cama with lime,
and beer or iced tea.
YIELD:
4 to 6 servings
About 2Вѕ cups (1 recipe) Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce
1 large (1Вј-pound), whole chicken breast, cooked, skinned,
boned and shredded
Вј cup Thick Cream or commercial sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
Salt, about Вј teaspoon
12 corn tortillas, preferably store-bought
Вј cup vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
1
/3 cup (about 1ВЅ ounces) Mexican queso aГ±ejo or other cheese
like feta or mild Parmesan
2 slices onion, broken into rings, for garnish
Several radish slices or roses, for garnish
1. The sauce and the filling. Heat the tomatillo sauce in a small,
covered pan over low. Warm up the chicken in a separate pan over
low heat (sprinkled with a little water so it won’t dry out), then stir
in the cream or sour cream, onion and salt; set aside off the fire,
covered.
2. The tortillas. If the tortillas are moist, let them dry out for a few
minutes in a single layer. Heat the oil in a small skillet over mediumhigh. When sizzlingly hot, quick-fry the tortillas to soften them, one
at a time, for 2 to 3 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels.
3. Assembling the enchiladas. About 20 minutes before serving,
preheat the oven to 350В°. Pour a cup of the warm sauce into a plate.
Lay a tortilla in the sauce, flip it over, lay a scant 2 tablespoons of
the filling across the center and roll it up (fingertips are most efficient
here). Transfer to a baking dish, then continue filling and rolling the
rest of the tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas,
being careful to cover the ends.
236 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
4. Baking. Immediately cover the dish with foil and bake just long
enough to heat through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the enchiladas
with the crumbled cheese, decorate with onion rings and radishes,
and serve right away.
Chicken enchiladas
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 237
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Enchilada Making:.
Ingredients
Corn Tortillas:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With the tomatillo sauce and chicken on hand, the enchiladas can be
ready in about ВЅ hour. Though not really sanctioned, these enchiladas
can be partially made ahead: Quick-fry the tortillas, but
don’t dip them in the sauce; fill and roll them, then cover and refrigerate;
bring to room temperature, cover with foil and bake 10 minutes at
350В°; cover with hot sauce and bake 5 minutes longer, then garnish
and serve.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Enchiladas Suizas: Prepare the recipe as directed, adding 1 cup Thick
Cream or whipping cream to the tomatillo sauce. Top the enchiladas
with 6 ounces (1ВЅ cups) grated melting cheese like mild cheddar or
Monterey Jack and bake 10 minutes uncovered at 400В°. Omit the other
garnishes.
Entomatadas: Prepare a smooth Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce,
add Вѕ cup poultry broth and simmer until it is a medium consistency.
Make the enchiladas as directed, substituting the tomato-chile sauce
for the tomatillo one. Versions of these are popular in Oaxaca and across
the North.
Seafood Enchiladas: In the northwest, they frequently replace the
chicken with 1Вј cups flaked, poached, boneless fish (like sea bass,
halibut, cod—even chopped shrimp or shredded crab). Complete the
recipe as directed.
TRADITIONAL NORTH AMERICAN VARIATIONS
Cheese Enchiladas: Use 1 pound grated mild cheddar or Monterey
Jack in place of the chicken filling (grated onion may be added, but
no cream). Complete the recipe as directed, baking the enchiladas until
the cheese melts. The tomatillo sauce may be replaced with 2ВЅ cups of
Northern-Style Red-Chile Sauce. A little cheese may be sprinkled on
the enchiladas before baking.
238 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
RED-CHILE ENCHILADAS WITH
CHEESE AND VEGETABLES
Enchiladas a la Plaza
For the most part, the hands of West-Central and Northern cooks
move toward the dried chile pods whenever enchiladas are requested. They transform the chiles into a muscular, uncooked sauce, dip
in the tortillas, then quick-fry them in hot oil, searing the flavors into
the thin corn cakes. The star here is the chile-flavored tortilla and
not so much what fills it. A little cheese or thick cream might go in
or on (as described in the simple variation that accompanies this
more involved recipe); perhaps a fried egg might go over the top
(enchiladas montadas) or even a spatulaful of richly seasoned vegetables. The latter variation (from the state of MichoacГЎn) is the
dressiest and most famous of the lot. Though this very good recipe
comes from a restaurant waitress in Morelia, I’d never pass up the
chance to have this dish at the nighttime prepared-foods plaza that
is its namesake.
For a meatless meal, serve the enchiladas with Frijoles Refritos and
a malty, half-dark Dos Equis beer.
YIELD:
4 to 6 servings
For the enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas, preferably store-bought
For the sauce:
4 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
4 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles guajillos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
6 medium (about 3 ounces total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
Вј teaspoon black peppercorns (or a generous 1/3 teaspoon
ground)
Вј teaspoon cumin seeds (or a scant 1/3 teaspoon ground)
2 cups any poultry broth, plus a little more if needed
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 239
Sugar, a big pinch, if necessary
For the vegetables:
2 medium-small (about 8 ounces total) boiling potatoes like
the red-skinned ones, peeled and diced into ВЅ-inch pieces
2 medium-large (about 8 ounces total) carrots, peeled and diced
into ВЅ-inch pieces
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
For the condiments:
ВЅ small head (about 10 ounces) cabbage
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
ВЅ teaspoon salt
2 thin slices onion, broken into rings
ВЅ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other
fresh cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
For finishing the dish:
4 to 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
1. Preliminaries. If the tortillas are moist, lay them out to dry a little,
then wrap in plastic.
2. The sauce. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium, then
lay the garlic on one side to roast. Tear the chiles into flat pieces and,
a few at a time, press them against the hot surface with a metal
spatula, flip them over and press again; you’ll hear them crackle
and see them blister and change color. Remove to a bowl, cover with
boiling water, weight down with a plate to keep them submerged,
and soak for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 or 3.
Turn the garlic frequently for 15 minutes or so, until blackened a
little and soft within. Remove, cool, peel and place in a blender jar.
Grind the peppercorns and cumin seeds in a mortar or spice grinder
and add to the garlic.
Drain the chiles, squeezing gently. Add to the blender jar and
measure in 1ВЅ cups of the poultry broth. Blend until smooth, then
strain into a large bowl through a medium-mesh sieve. Season with
salt and with sugar (if the sauce is bitter or sharp). Add additional
broth to thin to the consistency of a light tomato sauce.
240 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
3. The vegetables. Place the potatoes and carrots in a medium-size
saucepan, cover with water and add the vinegar and salt. Simmer
over medium until tender, about 15 minutes, then drain thoroughly
and set aside.
4. The garnishes. Core the cabbage, slice it very thinly and place in
a bowl. Mix the vinegar, oil and salt, then toss with the cabbage. Set
aside, together with the onion rings and crumbled cheese.
5. Frying the enchiladas. About 15 minutes before serving, divide
the cabbage mixture among 4 dinner plates, spreading it into a bed
in the center. Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet
or wok (see Equipment in Cook’s Notes) over medium. When hot,
dip both sides of a tortilla into the sauce, then lay it in the oil; do the
same with 1 or 2 more, if they will fit into your pan. After about 20
seconds, flip the tortillas over, fry another 20 seconds, fold them in
half, then in half again lengthwise. Lift them out, draining as much
of the oil back into the pan as possible, lay on a baking sheet and
keep warm in a low oven. Fry the remaining tortillas in the same
manner, adding more oil as necessary.
6. Finishing the dish. Add a little more oil to the skillet or wok, then
scoop in the potatoes and carrots along with 2 or 3 tablespoons of
leftover sauce. Stir frequently until the vegetables are warm, 3 or 4
minutes.
Place 3 enchiladas over the cabbage on each plate. Divide the fried
vegetables over the enchiladas, then strew with the onion and cheese
and serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 241
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Frying Chile-Dipped Tortillas: First, use a well-seasoned pan; second,
keep the heat no higher than medium; and third, use a sauce no thicker
than light canned tomato sauce. If any bits of stray sauce begin to burn,
clean your pan and heat a little more oil before continuing.
Soaking the Chiles: Because there is little in this sauce to balance the
astringency of the chiles, the pods are soaked longer (to remove excess
harshness).
Ingredients
Corn Tortillas:.
Dried Chiles: This sauce is frequently made with all anchos or all
guajillos. The latter is similar to a sauce made of 12 large New Mexico
or California chiles.
Equipment
Enchilada-Frying Pan: These enchiladas are commonly prepared in
what I call a frying table: a large metal rectangle with a shallow well
in the center. The heat is under the well, where the frying is done; the
flat sides keep food warm (and catch spatters). A wok is similar
(though deeper and lacking the flat sides); if the wok is well-seasoned,
the chile sauce doesn’t stick, and if large, the enchilada frying goes
quickly.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start 2 hours before serving, though you won’t be actively involved
all that time. The sauce may be prepared several days ahead, covered
and refrigerated. The vegetables and garnishes may be prepared early
in the day you’re serving; cover and refrigerate. Complete the final
two steps just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Chicken Enchiladas a la Plaza: Add 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
to the vegetables in Step 6.
Enchiladas con Crema: Prepare the enchiladas without the vegetables,
dressing or cabbage. Top with Вѕ cup Thick Cream, 1 cup crumbled
Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese,
some chopped onion and fresh coriander (cilantro).
242 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
PORK-FILLED ENCHILADAS
WITH ORANGE-RED MOLE
Enchiladas de Coloradito
When I want to introduce friends to the authentically Mexican world
of rich red-chile sauces, I don’t head straight for the elaborate mole
poblano; instead, I make this smooth and mild Oaxacan mole coloradito.
The recipe comes from a particularly good Oaxacan cook, a Zapotec
Indian woman, whose savory pork filling and no-fry method of enchilada preparation make the dish all the more attractive.
For an informal meal, serve these enchiladas de coloradito with a big
salad and a dessert of fresh fruit with Thick Cream.
YIELD:
4 to 6 servings, with 2ВЅ to 3 cups of sauce
For the meat:
12 ounces lean, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
1 thick slice onion, roughly chopped
For the coloradito sauce:
7 medium (about 3ВЅ ounces total) dried chiles anchos,
stemmed, seeded and deveined
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 slices firm white bread
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted or boiled, peeled and cored
OR Вѕ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 generous teaspoon dried oregano
3 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
3 black peppercorns (or a big pinch ground)
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or a scant ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1ВЅ tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Sugar, about 1 tablespoon
For finishing the filling:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 243
1 small (about 3 ounces) boiling potato like a red-skinned one,
peeled and cut into Вј-inch dice
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
ВЅ ripe plantain, peeled and cut into Вј-inch dice (see
Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, roasted or boiled, peeled and
cored
OR 2/3 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper, about Вј teaspoon
For finishing the enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas, preferably store-bought
1 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or queso
añejo, or cheese like feta, farmer’s or a mild Parmesan
About Вј cup diced onion
1. The meat. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan,
add the pork, then skim off the foam that rises during the first few
minutes of simmering. Add the salt, herbs and onion. Partially cover
and simmer over medium heat until the meat is tender, about 45
minutes. When the meat is done, remove it, then strain the broth
and skim off all the fat that rises to the top.
2. The coloradito sauce. Cover the seeded chiles anchos with boiling
water, weight with a plate to keep them submerged and let reconstitute for 30 minutes. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves on a griddle or
small skillet set over medium heat and roast for about 15 minutes,
turning frequently, until blackened in spots and soft to the touch.
Cool, then slip off the papery skins and place in a blender jar. Darkly
toast the bread and tear into small pieces. Add to the blender along
with the tomato, onion and oregano. Grind the cloves, peppercorns
and cinnamon in a mortar or spice grinder and add to the mixture.
Drain the soaked chiles, set aside 1 to use in the filling and add the
remainder to the blender, along with ВЅ cup of the reserved pork
broth. Blend until smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve.
Heat the 1ВЅ tablespoons lard or oil in a large saucepan set over
medium-high. When it is hot enough to make a drop of the puree
sizzle fiercely, add it all at once, and stir for several minutes as the
mixture fries and concentrates. Stir in 2ВЅ cups of the pork broth,
244 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
When the sauce is ready, season it with salt and sugar and, if necessary, thin it with some of the remaining pork broth to achieve a
medium consistency.
3. The filling. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the filling.
Boil the potato in salted water until tender, about 5 minutes, and
drain. When the pork is cool enough to handle, trim off the fat and
shred with your fingers.
Heat the remaining lard or oil in a large skillet over medium. Add
the shredded meat, potato, onion and plantain. Stir often, scraping
the bottom of the skillet to dislodge any sticky bits, until the mixture
is a rich golden-brown, about 8 minutes.
While the meat mixture is frying, combine the remaining tomato
and the single reserved chile in the blender, and process until smooth.
Add the puree to the browned mixture and stir constantly for several
minutes as the filling thickens. Remove from the fire, season liberally
with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm in a low oven.
4. Finishing the enchiladas. Steam-heat the tortillas as described,
and heat the sauce over low.
Just before serving, remove the hot filling from the oven and raise
the temperature to 350В°. Two or 3 at a time, lay the steaming tortillas
in front of you, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling down the
center of each one, roll up and lay in a warm baking dish, seam-side
down. When all have been filled and rolled, spoon the coloradito
sauce over them and warm in the oven for 5 minutes or so.
Sprinkle the enchiladas with the cheese and onion and carry to
the table.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 245
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Enchilada Making:.
Ingredients
Chiles Anchos: There is no substitute for their sweetness in this sauce.
Plantain: To ensure that your plantain is very ripe, buy it a week or
so before you need it. If ripe plantain is unavailable, substitute a very
green banana. Don’t fry it; just add it with the tomato-chile mixture.
Corn Tortillas:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparing the filling, sauce and enchiladas requires 1ВЅ to 2 hours.
Filling and sauce may be made several days in advance, covered and
refrigerated. Complete Step 4 in the ВЅ hour before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Enchiladas de Mole: Much less time-consuming but still delicious,
replace the filling in the recipe with about 12/3 cups Shredded Chicken.
For the more common enchiladas de mole, fill steam-heated corn tortillas
with chicken, then sauce them with 2ВЅ to 3 cups Mole Poblano or
Mole Rojo, following the guidelines in Step 4.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Duck Enchiladas with Coloradito: Replace the pork with about 8
ounces (1ВЅ cups) boneless, skinless roast, smoked or Chinese
barbecued duck (ВЅ large duck should do it). Complete the recipe as
directed in Steps 2 through 4, adding the duck with the tomato mixture
in Step 3.
Kitchen Spanish
Asking for enchiladas in Oaxaca usually gets you ones like these
(sprinkled with fresh cheese and parsley, but without filling). Enmoladas
follow suit, with black mole replacing the coloradito and entomatadas
have a ladle of tomato sauce—no mole at all.
246 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Stacked Tortillas with Shark, Black Beans and Tomato Sauce
STACKED TORTILLAS WITH SHARK,
BLACK BEANS AND TOMATO SAUCE
Pan de CazГіn
This stack of tortillas, tangy tomato sauce, fish and black beans is a
favorite in snack shops and informal restaurants all over the YucatГЎn
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 247
Peninsula—especially in Campeche, where shallow-water sand
sharks (dogfish) called cazónes are abundant. It’s a simple but tasty
combination, and one that is fairly quick to prepare. Serve it with
JГ­cama Salad and a glass of Almond-Rice Cooler for a traditionaltasting meal.
Chiles habaneros are requisite additions to Yucatecan tomato
sauces—bobbing about to spread a little chile cheer. Since they’re
used whole, they don’t give much of their special herby taste; but
they’re always fished out and set proudly atop the dish. (EATER
BEWARE.) They’re difficult to find in the United States, so I recommend using serranos.
YIELD: 6 servings as a snack or light meal with other accompaniments
1 cup (about ВЅ recipe) Frijoles Refritos made with black beans
About 4 cups (2 recipes) Yucatecan Tomato Sauce
3 fresh chiles habaneros or chiles serranos, roasted
12 corn tortillas, preferably store-bought
3 tablespoons bitter orange juice
6 leaves epazote, finely chopped
12 ounces boneless, skinless shark steak, preferably 1 inch
thick
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. Preliminaries. Heat the beans in a small, covered saucepan over
low. Warm the tomato sauce over low heat in a similar covered pan;
make a small slit in the side of each of the chiles and add to the sauce.
Steam-heat the tortillas as directed.
2. The fish. Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of the bitter orange juice, half the epazote and the shark. Cover
and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. If possible, let the
fish cool in the broth.
Drain off the liquid, remove the fish and break it into rather small
shreds. Place it in an ovenproof bowl, season with salt and mix in
the remaining tablespoon of bitter orange juice and the rest of the
epazote. Cover with foil, set in the oven, and turn it on to 350В°.
3. Finishing the dish. Oil a baking sheet and lay out 6 hot tortillas
on it. Spread each with 2 rounded tablespoons of beans, then top
with a portion of the warm fish mixture and a spoonful of the sauce.
Top each serving with a second tortilla and spread a little sauce over
it.
248 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Cover with foil and bake for about 8 minutes, just to heat through.
Transfer each serving to a warm dinner plate, ladle some of the remaining sauce over each one and garnish with the roasted chiles
from the sauce.
Epazote
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 249
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Enchilada Making:. An additional note: You may find it easier to work
with the tortillas if they are quick-fried (Step 2) rather than
steam-heated; they hold together a little better in transferring from
baking sheet to plate.
Ingredients
Corn Tortillas:. Epazote: Since the flavors are simple here, the epazote
comes through clearly. But when it can’t be found, either leave it out
or use a little flat-leaf parsley in its place.
Shark: In the Campeche market, you can buy roasted chunks of cazГіn,
almost black from the fire but moist and sweet-tasting within. Their
flavor is perfect in this dish because the smoke and char don’t let the
fish get lost in the beans and sauce. If possible, charcoal-broil the fish
rather than boil it, or replace it with about 10 ounces of meaty smoked
fish, such as albacore. If fresh shark is unavailable, choose swordfish,
tuna or the milder halibut or cod.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If the sauce and beans are prepared in advance, the dish can be finished
in a little over ВЅ hour. The fish may be prepared a day ahead, covered
and refrigerated. Heat the ingredients (Step 1) and complete Step 3
just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Pan de Camarones: Replace the cooked shark with 12 ounces shrimp
(steam-cooked as described, peeled, deveined and chopped). Complete
the dish as directed.
OTHER SNACKS
Otros Antojitos
The whimsical names of the “little whims” (as antojito literally
translates) continue to multiply: The cooks and eaters never stop
thinking up picturesque and unflattering christenings for the ways
they pinch and push, fry, bake and steam their corn dough. A favorite
game of Mexican writers is to list off those names, line after line after
250 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
line, never bothering to let you know that they’re all variations on
a handful of styles.
After exploring the major approaches to antojitos in the preceding
sections, we’re now face to face with the masa boats (sopes and garnachas, just two of their many names), the delicious fat tortillas
(gorditas) that puff like pita bread to hold their fillings, the infamous
hoagielike sandwiches called tortas and the widely popular, quicksimmered tortilla casserole (chilaquiles) that makes an everyday lunch
or supper in our house. They’re as adaptable as all the other antojitos;
they’re appetizers, snacks, light meals and, in the case of chilaquiles,
even side dishes.
No collection of antojitos would be representative if it didn’t at
least nod in the direction of tostadas. I have eaten crisp-tender little
4-inch tostadas with lime-cured meat in Tuxtla GutiГ©rrez, Chiapas;
thick 6-inch tostadas of pickled pigs’ feet and pork rind in the WestCentral states; the stuffed panuchos of Yucatán; and the huge Oaxacan
toasted—not fried—clayudas that serve as a dinner plate for a rich
array of unusual toppings. But never, I must admit, did I come across
anything in Mexico like the California version of tostadas: the crisp
flour-tortilla baskets filled with enough lettuce salad to feed several
indulgent people. No, in Mexico, tostadas are simply crispy food
conveyors made of corn tortillas—the consumable little plates used
by many street vendors. In the coffee shops, they may be piled a
little higher to serve as a light meal rather than a light snack; or in
a refined traditional restaurant, they may be delicately topped with
a little something spicy, to go with drinks.
What follows in this chapter, then, pretty well fills out the traditional Mexican antojito offerings.
CHICKEN TOSTADAS WITH
FRESH VEGETABLES AND CREAM
Tostadas de Pollo
This recipe’s simple layering of crisp tortilla, fried beans, chicken,
sour cream and a little well-dressed salad is a mainstay of coffee
shops throughout Mexico (and even up into the fast-food restaurants
north of the border). It is satisfying and tasty, but certainly seems
less adventurous than a pigs’ feet tostada made on the hefty, salty,
West-Central—style fried tortillas. And what could be more refresh-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 251
ing than the seviche tostadas served under the hot sun on practically
any Mexican beach?
The coffee-shop version detailed below makes a nice lunch or
supper dish. Lightly topped tostadas often accompany Green Pozole
in Guerrero and I also think they go well with a brothy soup like
Tlalpeño Soup. This is one dish that isn’t too filling for a dessert like
Sweet Fresh-Cheese Pie.
YIELD:
12 tostadas, serving 4 as a light meal
12 Crisp-Fried Tortillas (Tostadas
1 large (1Вј-pound), whole chicken breast, cooked, skinned,
boned and shredded
About 2 cups (1 recipe) Frijoles Refritos
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
Вј teaspoon salt
A big pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2ВЅ to 3 cups sliced lettuce, preferably romaine
1 cup Thick Cream or commercial sour cream thinned with 3
to 4 tablespoons milk or cream
ВЅ cup chopped onion
1 ripe, large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
2 ripe, medium-small tomatoes, cored and sliced or diced
Вѕ cup (3 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or queso aГ±ejo,
or cheese like feta, farmer’s cheese or mild Parmesan
1. Preliminaries. About 25 minutes before serving, fry the tortillas
as directed. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, if desired. Warm the
beans over low heat, adding a little water if they’re overly thick.
Thoroughly whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, then
toss the lettuce with this dressing.
2. Assembling the tostadas. Spread a generous 2 tablespoons of warm
beans over each crisp tortilla. Top with a little chicken, then add a
thick drizzle of cream, some onion and avocado. Top each tostada
with dressed lettuce, tomato and a sprinkling of cheese. Serve at
once.
252 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Chicken tostadao
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 253
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Tostadas and Temperature: While most Americans think of food as
hot or cold, Mexicans generally consider a cool room temperature
perfect for tostadas. Warming the beans past room temperature would
seem superfluous to them, I would guess, so omit the step if you wish.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With beans and shredded chicken on hand, you can have the tostadas
ready in 20 minutes. Both the beans and the chicken can be prepared
in advance, covered and refrigerated; but the tostadas are best when
completed shortly before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Black-Bean Tostadas with Thick Cream: A dressy way to serve beans
is to prepare 2 cups (1 recipe) Frijoles Refritos made with black beans,
then divide them between 6 crisp-fried tortillas and drizzle on ВЅ cup
Thick Cream or commercial sour cream thinned with a little cream.
End with crumbled Mexican queso aГ±eyo or cheese like feta or Parmesan,
plus a little chopped onion. Serve at once.
Seviche Tostadas: Prepare Seviche following the variation recipe for
tostadas; divide it between 10 to 12 crisp-fried tortillas and garnish
with a sprig of fresh coriander (cilantro) and a few drops of
Salsa Picante.
CHILE-MARINATED
VEGETABLE TOSTADAS
Tostadas de Chileajo
In Oaxaca and Guerrero, chileajo (literally “chile-garlic”) is a wellknown simple sauce of mild chile, lots of garlic, sweet spices and a
dash of vinegar. Roadside eateries near Taxco stew iguana and rabbit
in it; and market-day street vendors around the Oaxaca valley mix
it up with vegetables and serve it on tostadas. Here’s a traditional
recipe for the latter, based on one from Guzmán’s Tradiciones gastronómicas oaxaqueñas. These tostadas are good served before Fresh
Corn Chowder with Shrimp, with a fresh fruit ice for dessert. Or,
254 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
for a summer meal, serve the cool vegetables by themselves, with
poached fish or smoked chicken.
YIELD:
12 tostadas, serving 6 as a hearty appetizer
4 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles guajillos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 ounces (about 1 cup) green beans, ends snipped, and chopped
in ВЅ-inch lengths
2
/3 cup peas, fresh or (defrosted) frozen
2 small (about 6 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the
red-skinned ones, diced in ВЅ-inch pieces
2 small (about 4 ounces total) carrots, peeled and diced in
ВЅ-inch pieces
2 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
1
/8 teaspoon black peppercorns (or a scant Вј teaspoon ground)
ВЅ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
1ВЅ tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Sugar, about ВЅ teaspoon
12 Crisp-Fried Tortillas (Tostadas)
Вј cup (about 1 ounce) Mexican queso aГ±ejo or cheese like feta
or mild Parmesan
ВЅ small onion, thinly sliced
1. The chiles and garlic. Cover the chiles with boiling water, weight
with a plate to keep them submerged, soak 30 minutes, then drain.
While the chiles are soaking, place the unpeeled garlic on a griddle
or heavy skillet over medium heat. Turn frequently for about 15
minutes, until blackened in spots and soft. Cool, then slip off the
skins. Place the garlic and chiles in a blender jar and set aside.
2. Preparing the vegetables. In a large saucepan, bring several quarts
of salted water to a boil over high heat. One at a time, boil the vegetables just until tender (you can use the same water for each batch):
first the green beans for 3 to 5 minutes, then the fresh peas for 4 to
20 minutes (depending on their freshness and maturity), then the
potatoes for about 5 minutes, and last, the carrots for 5 to 8 minutes.
As each group of vegetables is done, scoop it out, run under cold
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 255
water to stop the cooking, then drain on paper towels. Transfer to
a mixing bowl (along with the defrosted peas, if using them).
3. Finishing the sauce. Grind the cloves and black pepper in a
mortar or spice grinder; add to the chile mixture in the blender jar
along with the oregano and ВЅ cup water. Blend until smooth, then
strain through a medium-mesh sieve.
Heat the lard or vegetable oil in a medium-small skillet over medium-high. When quite hot, add the chile mixture and stir constantly
until somewhat darker and noticeably thicker, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce
the heat to medium-low, add the vinegar and enough water to give
the sauce the consistency of thin ketchup, and simmer for a minute
to blend the flavors. Season with salt and sugar, then cool.
Mix the sauce into the vegetables. If there is time, cover and let
stand for a few hours before serving.
4. Finishing the tostadas. When you are ready to serve, scoop 2
heaping tablespoons of the vegetable mixture on each crisp-fried
tortilla and sprinkle with a little cheese and onion.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Boiling Vegetables: Many nutrition-conscious cooks will pull out the
steamer when boiled vegetables are called for. It’s fine to do, though
vegetable steamers don’t really have a place in traditional Mexican
kitchens.
Ingredients
Chiles Guajillos: If these are unavailable, use 1 ounce (3 or 4) large
New Mexico or California chiles.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The vegetable mixture can be made in 45 minutes. Cover and
refrigerate up to 24 hours, but bring to room temperature before
serving. Complete the tostadas just before serving.
HALF-FRIED TORTILLAS
WITH BLACK BEANS,
256 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
CHICKEN AND PICKLED ONIONS
Panuchos Yucatecos con Pollo
The appeal of these special little tostadas is the way they crisp underneath while the thin top layer of the tortilla melds with the beans;
strew that with a little chicken in escabeche and the result is remarkably delicious. Everyone, from market vendors to the best regional
restaurateurs, serves them in MГ©rida, YucatГЎn, and they are popular
up the Gulf Coast through Veracruz.
This recipe is based on the version served at Los Almendros restaurant in MГ©rida, where the panuchos occasionally come with a
welcomed sprinkling of lettuce over the top. For a special Yucatecan
meal, serve them before Pork Pibil and Creamy Fresh-Coconut
Dessert. Or use them as a main course with a fruit salad and Mexican
Rice Pudding.
YIELD: 12 panuchos, serving 4 as a light meal, 6 as a hearty appetizer
12 puffed corn tortillas (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
About 2 cups (ВЅ recipe) Shredded Chicken in Escabeche
OR 11/3 cups salted Shredded Chicken, plus about 2/3 cup (ВЅ
recipe) Pickled Red Onions
About Вѕ cup (1/3 recipe) smooth Frijoles Refritos made with
black beans
2
/3 cup vegetable oil
1ВЅ cups loosely packed, sliced leaf lettuce
6 pickled chiles jalapeГ±os, either store-bought or homemade,
stemmed, seeded, deveined and sliced into thin strips
(optional)
1. Opening a pocket in the tortillas. Lay out the tortillas in a single
layer, turning them every few minutes, until they have lost any
moistness and feel leathery. Do not let them dry until they curl or
begin to harden.
Lay a tortilla face-side up on the counter (face-side is the one with
the thin, puffed cap and small, dark splotches). Using a thin knife,
near the edge make an incision into the pocket between the two
layers. Following the line that marks the separation of the layers
(most tortillas won’t have puffed all the way to the edge), cut about
1
/3 of the way around the perimeter.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 257
Next, open the two layers of the tortilla into as full a pocket as
possible by sliding a few fingers through the opening and very gently
prying apart the two sides. (Should the tortilla rip, stop at once and
either discard the tortilla or, if the rip is small, use the tortilla with
whatever size pocket it has.) Open pockets in the remaining tortillas.
2. Stuffing the tortilla and other preliminaries. About 45 minutes before serving, drain the juice from the chicken in escabeche and set it
out at room temperature; or, if using shredded chicken, set it out
with the pickled onions.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the beans into the pocket of each tortilla,
then press gently on the tops to spread out the beans. Stack the
stuffed tortillas and cover with plastic wrap.
3. Frying and topping the panuchos. Heat the vegetable oil in a large
skillet over medium-high. When it is hot enough to make the edge
of a tortilla sizzle sharply, begin frying the panuchos 2 or 3 at a time,
face-side up, until crisp underneath, about 3 minutes. Drain them
for a minute upside down on paper towels, then flip them over so
they’re face-side up; keep warm in a low oven until all are fried.
Lay the panuchos on a warm serving platter. Divide the sliced
lettuce over them, top with chicken in escabeche, or shredded chicken
and onions in escabeche, then strew with the optional pickled jalapeГ±o.
Serve immediately.
258 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Tortillas: If I can’t be sure that my brand of store-bought, factory-made
tortillas will be puffed, I’ll make them myself for this dish—even
though store-bought tortillas are preferable for frying. If your tortillas
don’t puff much and you have difficulty prying the two layers apart,
try heating the tortillas on a griddle set over medium-high, flipping
them frequently until they stiffen and brown a little. Then cut into
them and pry the two layers apart.
Timing and Advance Preparation
All toppings except the lettuce can be prepared ahead and refrigerated.
It takes ВЅ hour or so to prepare the tortillas for stuffing and frying; if
wrapped well, they can be done a day ahead and refrigerated. Fill the
tortillas with beans within an hour of serving or they’ll be tough when
fried; slice the lettuce and complete Step 3 shortly before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Panuchos with Other Traditional Toppings: In the preceding recipe,
the chicken may be replaced by about 11/3 cups shredded Chicken
or Pork Pibil. Occasionally, sliced hard-boiled egg is slipped into the
pocket, on top of the beans.
Panuchos with Picadillo or Shark: A common market variation
replaces the chicken with 1ВЅ cups minced pork or beef picadillo; splash
with 1 tablespoon Yucatecan Tomato Sauce before sprinkling with
lettuce, Pickled Red Onions and jalapeГ±o strips. Some recipes call for
the same layering, but with 11/3 cups shredded, cooked shark (you
could use any meaty fish) in place of the picadillo.
Regional Explorations
Often, panuchos outside MГ©rida are simply black-bean tostadas with
chicken shreds or ground beef—except those in the Villahermosa and
Campeche markets. There, they’re made from two very thin, raw
tortillas pressed together with beans or meat between them; they’re
fried, topped with sauce and other condiments, and taste
delicious—like a cross between panuchos and soft salbutes, another
Yucatecan specialty.
CRISPY MASA BOATS
WITH CHORIZO AND
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 259
FRESH TOPPINGS
Sopes TapatГ­os
These tender little masa boats, so much a part of Guadalajara’s snackshop and street-food fare, are one of the most beautiful displays of
classic Mexican flavors and textures: a variety of typical toppings—from soft and meaty to crunchy, raw and picante—spread in
a crispy, silver dollar—size shell of good corn masa.
The easy, uncommon forming method I’ve outlined below is one
I learned at a Loredo restaurant in Mexico City; there they serve
sopes as appetizers. They’re great to pass around at a cocktail party,
along with little Seviche Tostadas and Nuevo León—Style Tamales.
Or make a light meal of them with a bowl of Shrimp-Ball Soup with
Roasted Peppers.
YIELD:
24 sopes, serving 8 to 12 as an appetizer
For the dough:
1Вј pounds fresh masa
OR 2Вј cups masa harina mixed with a scant 1ВЅ cups hot tap
water
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
1
/3 cup flour (plus 1 tablespoon for masa harina)
Вѕ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
For finishing the sopes:
1 cup Brothy Beans, coarsely pureed with a little of their broth
8 ounces (about 1 cup) chorizo sausage, store-bought or
homemade, casing removed
Vegetable oil to a depth of Вѕ inch, for frying
About 1Вј cups (1 recipe) Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce
ВЅ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or queso
añejo, or cheese like feta, farmer’s cheese or mild Parmesan
1 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce
3 or 4 radishes, thinly sliced
1. The sope shells. If you are using the masa harina, mix it with the
260 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
hot water, cover and let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Mix the masa (fresh
or reconstituted) with the lard or shortening, flour, salt and baking
powder, kneading until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. If
necessary, adjust the consistency of the dough with a little water;
has the details. Divide the dough into 12 balls, place them on a plate
and cover with plastic wrap.
Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium. Cut a square of
heavy plastic (like that used for freezer bags). Lay it out in front of
you, flatten one of the balls onto it, then gently pat and press it into
an evenly flat disc, 3/8 inch thick and 2ВЅ inches in diameter. With
the fat little tortilla still on the plastic, flip it over onto one hand,
dough-side down, and peel off the plastic.
Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle or skillet and bake for about 2
minutes per side, until lightly browned; it will still be soft and uncooked inside. Pat out and bake the remaining 11 masa balls in the
same fashion.
With a thin, sharp knife, slice each tortilla in half, as you would
an English muffin. With the cooked-side down, pinch up a Вј-inchhigh border around each disc, molding the pliable uncooked masa
from the center. Cover the sopes with plastic wrap so they won’t dry
out.
2. Preparing the toppings. About ВЅ hour before serving, warm the
beans in a small covered pan and set in a low oven; if they’re not
the consistency of thick bean soup, either simmer briefly, uncovered,
or stir in a few drops of water or broth. In a small skillet, cook the
chorizo in 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-low heat,
breaking up any clumps. When it is done, about 10 minutes, drain
off the fat, cover and place in the oven.
3. Frying the shells. Heat the Вѕ-inch depth of vegetable oil to 360В°.
Fry the sope shells 3 or 4 at a time until lightly browned, about 45
seconds; they should be a little crunchy on the outside, but still
tender and moist within. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in
the oven.
4. Finishing the sopes. When you are ready to serve, layer the fillings
in each sope shell in this order: 2 teaspoons beans, 1 heaping teaspoon
chorizo, a scant tablespoon tomatillo sauce, 1 teaspoon cheese, a little
lettuce and a couple of radish slices. Serve immediately.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 261
aged and fresh mexican cheese (queso fresco and queso aГ±ejo)
262 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
An Alternative, More Common Method of Forming Sopes: Divide the
dough into 18 balls, pat them into 2ВЅ-inch-diameter discs Вј inch thick,
and bake them for 1ВЅ minutes per side. Cool, then pinch up a border
around the perimeter, breaking through the cooked layer and molding
up some of the soft masa below; fry as directed. They are a little heavier
than the split variety.
Frying Masa Creations:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow about an hour to complete the sopes (plus 20 to 30 minutes more
if using masa harina). The shells can be completed up to 2 days ahead,
covered and refrigerated. The beans, of course, can be cooked in
advance, as can the chorizo; rewarm them, prepare the other toppings
and fry the sopes just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Sopes with a Variety of Toppings: If the ingredients are finely chopped,
practically any taco filling, quesadilla filling, even eggs (a la Mexicana,
with Chorizo, or with Shredded Jerky) can fill sopes.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Plantain Sopes with Shredded Pork: In many cookbooks from Mexico,
sope dough is made with flavorful additions: Boil 1 medium-ripe, large
plantain in salted water until very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain,
cool and puree in a food processor. Mix with Вѕ pound masa, ВЅ cup
Mexican queso fresco or fresh farmer’s cheese, and the lard, flour, salt
and baking powder called for in the recipe. Form, bake (over low heat,
3 to 4 minutes per side), split, pinch and fry the sopes. Top each one
with a generous tablespoon of the Shredded Pork Picadillo and a little
crumbled fresh cheese.
Regional Explorations
A sope by any other name…can show up elsewhere in Mexico: picadas
(literally “picked at”) in Veracruz; pellizcada (literally “pinched at”)
around Central, Southern and Gulf Coastal Mexico; garnachas from
the capital out through Yucatán; chalupas (literally “boats”) in Puebla
and vicinity (though the everyday chalupas don’t have pinched
borders); memelas (literally “oblong, thick tortillas”) on the streets in
Oaxaca; gorditas (literally “little fat ones”) in Hermosillo, Sonora;
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 263
migadas (literally “picked to pieces”) around Tampico. And, of course,
plain, unqualified sope is understood most everywhere, too. All of
them are masa boats with pinched borders and each has its
characteristic toppings. The Guadalajara-style sopes outlined here are
smaller and more fully filled than the common, 4-inch, lightly sauced
and cheese-sprinkled snacks.
PUFFED MASA CAKES
STUFFED WITH CHILES
AND CHEESE
Gorditas de Chile con Queso
The fat masa cakes bake and puff on a thick slab of steel set over
charcoal, there are a dozen or more fillings lined up in plain-looking
earthenware bowls, and the air is cut up by the aromas and streaks
of sunlight filtering through uncovered patches in the roof of the
San Luis PotosГ­ market. I find myself attracted to this kind of earthy
setting when I’m looking for snacks like gorditas.
From QuerГ©taro north, gorditas are enjoyed with an endlessly
evolving lot of fillings; I chose chiles and cheese for this recipe (it’s
not the melted-cheese dip of Texas) because it is delicious and popular throughout the area. Gorditas are good for a light lunch or supper, or to serve before a rustic main course like Lamb Birria.
12 gorditas serving 4 as a light meal, 6 as a hearty appetizer
For the filling:
YIELD:
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and peeled
OR Вѕ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
4 medium-large fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled,
seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup broth, preferably poultry
8 ounces (about 2 cups) Mexican queso fresco or fresh farmer’s
cheese, or even Monterey Jack, cut into ВЅ-inch cubes (see
Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
264 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
For the gorditas:
1 pound fresh masa
OR 1Вѕ cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
hot tap water
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
ВЅ teaspoon salt
Вј cup flour (1/3 cup if using masa harina)
1 scant teaspoon baking powder
Oil to a depth of Вѕ inch, for frying
About 1ВЅ cups thinly sliced romaine or iceberg lettuce
(optional)
1. The filling. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomato,
then strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a medium-size
saucepan. Add the chiles and broth, then simmer over medium heat
for about 10 minutes, until the chiles are tender and the liquid reduced to a light coating. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese
and season with salt.
2. The dough. If using masa harina, mix it with the water, cover and
let stand for ВЅ hour. Mix the lard, salt, flour and baking powder
with the fresh or reconstituted masa, kneading it until all ingredients
are thoroughly incorporated; if necessary, add a little water to correct
the consistency of the dough, as described. Divide into 12 portions,
place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
3. Forming and baking the gorditas. Set a griddle or heavy skillet
over medium to medium-low heat. Place a 7-inch square of heavy
plastic (like that used for freezer bags) on your counter and flatten
a portion of masa onto the center of it. Pat and press the dough into
a 1/8-inch-thick disc, 3ВЅ to 4 inches in diameter. With the gordita
still attached to the plastic, flip it over onto one hand, dough-side
down, then carefully peel off the plastic. Lay the gordita on the heated
griddle or skillet and bake, turning every minute or so, until it is
lightly browned and crusty, about 3 or 4 minutes. Cool on a wire
rack. Form and bake the remaining portions of masa in the same
way.
4. Frying, filling and serving the gorditas. About 20 minutes before
serving, heat the oil to 375В°. Place the filling in a low oven to heat
just a little.
When the oil is hot, fry the gorditas a few at a time for 1ВЅ minutes,
turning frequently, until the two sides have puffed apart about Вѕ
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 265
inch; if they don’t puff, you can simply split them with a knife when
you serve. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the low oven
while frying the remainder.
When you are ready to serve, use a small, pointed knife to cut an
opening into the pocket, going in at the edge and slicing about 1/3
of the way around the perimeter.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the warm filling into each gordita,
then stuff in the optional lettuce. Serve at once.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
The Bake-Then-Fry Approach to Gorditas: While some cooks get their
gorditas to puff by simply griddle-baking them, the most foolproof
method I’ve found is that used by the street vendors: Bake a nice crust
on them, then pop them in the oil, where they nearly always puff.
Frying Masa Creations:.
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: If poblanos aren’t to be found, use 7 long green chiles
(roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced).
Cheese: Though either the crumbly fresh cheese (queso fresco) or the
spongy panela is generally used for this dish in West-Central and
Northern Mexico, you might enjoy a melting cheese (Muenster,
Monterey Jack or a mild cheddar) as they do in Chihuahua. Melting
cheese, however, is harder to work with as a filling.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow 45 minutes or so to prepare the gorditas and filling. If using
masa harina, mix it with water first, so it can rehydrate while you
complete the other steps. The filling can be prepared a day or two
ahead and refrigerated, covered.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
The Gamut of Sizes and Fillings: Little griddle-baked gorditas in
Tampico and vicinity are called bocoles. Following the same procedure
as that for large ones, you can make two dozen from this recipe and
serve them as appetizers. Nearly all the taco and quesadilla fillings will
work in gorditas. You’ll need about 2½ cups of filling for 12 full-size
gorditas.
266 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Chilaquiles Quick-Simmered Tortilla Casserole
QUICK-SIMMERED
TORTILLA CASSEROLE WITH
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 267
GREEN OR RED SAUCE
Chilaquiles Verdes o Rojos
It’s the slight chewiness of the tortillas I think you’ll enjoy, run
through as they are with the flavor of broth, tomatoes, tomatillos and
chiles. And then there’s the drizzling of thick, glassy cream. Chilaquiles are a favorite choice in coffee shops from the U.S. border to
Guatemala—simmered with a locally popular sauce, plus an endless
variety of chunky vegetables, meat, eggs and sausage. The
Guadalajara market cooks keep cazuelas of them on hand during
morning hours; after a long simmering, they take on the texture of
a coarse polenta. And the standard Mexico City version calls for a
spicy tomatillo sauce and a whole sprig of epazote in every portion—apt ingredients for a dish whose name means “chiles and
herbs” in Nahuatl.
This simple restaurant version of chilaquiles, which I learned in
the capital, plays an unchanging role in morning food. It also makes
a nice supper when paired with a salad and/or Pan-Fried ChileMarinated Pork; it can even replace enchiladas in Steak a la TampiqueГ±a.
YIELD:
2 servings as a main course, 4 when accompanied by other
dishes
6 medium-thick (5 to 6 ounces total) corn tortillas, preferably
stale, store-bought ones
1
/3 cup vegetable oil
1ВЅ cups Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce or Quick-Cooked
Tomato-Chile Sauce
ВЅ cup chicken broth for the tomatillo sauce, 1 cup for the
tomato sauce
ВЅ cup boneless, cooked chicken, cut in chunks (optional)
1 large sprig epazote (optional)
Salt, about Вј teaspoon
Вј cup Thick Cream or commercial sour cream thinned with a
little milk or cream
2 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso fresco or queso aГ±ejo,
or cheese like feta, farmer’s cheese or mild Parmesan
268 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1 thin slice onion, broken into rings
1. The tortillas. Cut the tortillas into eighths. If they are moist, dry
them out for a few minutes in a 350В° oven, until quite leathery.
Pour the oil into a medium-size skillet set over medium-high heat.
When hot enough to make the edge of a tortilla sizzle, add half the
tortilla pieces. Turn them frequently until they are lightly browned
and nearly crisp, then remove and drain on paper towels. Fry and
drain the remaining tortilla pieces in the same fashion. Reduce the
heat to medium-low and discard any oil that remains.
2. Simmering the chilaquiles. Return the tortilla pieces to the skillet
and add the sauce, broth, optional chicken and optional epazote. Stir
well to coat the tortillas, cover the skillet and simmer until the tortillas are soft but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
3. Garnish and presentation. Scoop the mixture onto a warm serving
platter. Drizzle with the cream, sprinkle with cheese and decorate
with onion rings. Serve immediately.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 269
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Drying and Frying Tortillas:.
Ingredients
Corn Tortillas: They should not be too thin, or they will disintegrate
as they simmer.
Timing and Advance Preparation
These chilaquiles require only 20 minutes to prepare when the sauce
is on hand; the tortillas may be fried in advance. Chilaquiles won’t
retain their good texture for long, so simmer them shortly before
serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Chilaquiles with Scrambled Eggs and Rajas: Fry ВЅ medium onion
(sliced) and 2 chiles poblanos (roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced) until
tender; break in 3 eggs and scramble until set. Prepare the chilaquiles
as directed, adding the egg mixture with the sauce.
Chilaquiles for a Crowd: This is the home-style method (similar to
what’s called a “dry” tortilla soup). Using double quantities: Fry batches
of tortillas in ВЅ inch oil until nearly crisp, drain and place in an
8-inch-square baking dish; heat the sauce and broth and pour over the
tortillas, then mix in the optional chicken and epazote, and the salt; stir,
cover and bake at 350В° about 20 minutes. Top with cream, cheese and
onions.
CONTEMPORARY VARIATIONS
Chilaquiles with Quick-Fried Chard and Monterey Jack: Stir-fry 1ВЅ
cups sliced Swiss chard in a little oil, just until softened. Prepare the
chilaquiles through Step 2, using Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce
(made with 2 seeded chiles chipotles in place of the green chiles). Mix
in the chard, scoop into a baking dish, top with 1 cup grated Jack
cheese and broil until the cheese is melted.
LAYERED TORTILLA
270 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
CASSEROLE
BudГ­n de Tortillas
about 6 servings
This delicious lasagnalike variation on chilaquiles is often called
budin cuauhtГ©moc or budГ­n azteca. Quick-fry 12 corn tortillas in a little
vegetable oil, 2 or 3 seconds per side, then drain well. Prepare 2 cups
Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce, 3 large chiles poblanos (roasted,
peeled, seeded and sliced), 1Вј cups Thick Cream or thinned commercial sour cream, and 1ВЅ cups (6 ounces) grated melting cheese
like mild cheddar or Monterey Jack. Line the bottom of a 9-inchsquare baking dish with 3 tortillas (slightly overlapping). Top with
Вј of the sauce, cream and cheese, and ВЅ of the chiles; repeat with
three more layers (the top will have no chiles). Cover and bake at
350В° for about 30 minutes. Strew with onion rings and radish rounds,
then serve. About 1ВЅ cups shredded cooked chicken, pork or fish
can be layered with the chiles.
YIELD:
Mexican wooden cooking spoons
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 271
TAMALES
[The Lords ate] tamales made of a dough of maize softened in
lime, with beans forming a sea shell on top; tamales of maize
softened in wood ashes;…tamales of meat cooked with maize and
yellow chili…
—FRIAR BERNARDINO DE SAHAGÚN, 1550s
I have frequently wondered what those tamales must have tasted
like four and a half centuries ago. Were they made of coarse-ground
corn and wrapped like fat cigars in cornhusks, as many are today?
Or was the dough smooth (perhaps even stirred over the fire before
the tamales were formed); could the wrappers have been banana
leaves? Might the tightly tied packages have been cooked in simmering liquid, as I’ve seen in Chiapas, rather than steamed above it?
Would they have tasted more like a pudding, as do the chokecherry
ones they sometimes sell in the Tolucan market? And without the
lard brought by the Spaniards, wouldn’t the pre-Columbian corn
loaves have been heavy and dense?
The yield of the cook’s craft, sadly, is a perishable one, which
means that the answers to many of my questions will remain incomplete at best. The old cookbooks fail to supply much of the bygone
detail that was commonly shared knowledge for writer and reader.
And the anthropological records only tantalize us with vague references to different colors, shapes and flavors, before they move on
to describe the special varieties of tamales that were gifts to the gods
during the twelfth month of the Aztecs’ eighteen-month year. That
was an ancient holiday, as it happened, that coincided rather nicely
with the conquerors’ All Saints’ Day (Day of the Dead, as they call
it in Mexico), resulting in the two becoming a thoroughly mestizo
fiesta—celebrated in honor of all who’ve gone to the other world,
celebrated with an eye to the earthly pleasures of drink and
food…tamales included.
Still today, when people eat tamales in Mexico (except perhaps in
some big cities), there is at least a hint of fiesta in the air. When
family and friends get together to make them, the event is a
tamal-making-party-before-the-party, a time to take full advantage
of the high-spirited company while everyone shares in the special
preparations.
For those who don’t make their own, tamales are often on sale
from fragrant steamers along the routes of Sunday-evening strolls
272 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
(paseos) in parks or main squares. In towns where tamales are a specialty, the market stalls and coffee shops serve them, hot in their
cornhusk or banana-leaf wrappers, frequently with earthenware
mugs full of the traditional, warm, masa-thickened atole, in variations
from fruit to nut, chocolate to plain white.
Today this pairing of tamales with atole has come to seem oldfashioned, so some folks drink soda pop or coffee or hot chocolate
with the steamed corn cakes. But during the days when there was
only one liquid accompaniment, Sra. Josefina VelГЎzquez de LeГіn
wrote her classic cookbook Tamales y atoles, filled with recipes for
deliciously flavored porridges and the different tamales that are the
pride of each region.
The majority of the tamales—no matter what their filling, flavoring
or wrapping—start with a dough of masa para tamales (“corn dough
for tamales”) or harina para tamales (“cornmeal for tamales”) made
from dried field corn that has been boiled briefly with slaked lime,
hulled and coarsely ground: If dried first, it makes meal; if ground
wet, the result is a coarse-textured dough.
Good, flavorful, fresh lard is the second ingredient, and it is pliable
enough to trap air when beaten, causing the dough to expand as the
tamales steam and making each bite tender and delicious. The dough
is mixed up with a light-flavored broth; and, to help ensure that the
tamales puff up light and tender, baking powder is stirred in. Baking
powder, of course, is of recent manufacture, the long-used leavening
(and one still used by some traditional cooks) being the agua de
tequesquite (a mixture of saltpeter and water in which skins of tomatillos have been boiled).
Having a tamal party: Because tamales are so special and can be
made ahead, they are ideal for large informal parties—whether you
prepare one variety or several. To prepare larger quantities of any
of the tamales, simply multiply out the recipe, make the dough in a
large heavy-duty mixer (using the paddle, not the whisk) and gather
together lots of friends to help form the tamales; use a large kettle or
two for steaming. Small tamales can be put out in their wrappers as
appetizers, accompanied by fresh vegetables and dip, a JГ­cama Salad,
Cactus-Paddle Salad and/or Chunky Guacamole. Also, tamales are
substantial enough to be a light buffet main course, served with
Frijoles Refritos or Charro Beans, a Mixed Vegetable Salad, Flan, and
beer or one of the coolers; for the sake of tradition, I’d make a warm
Chocolate Atole.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 273
Regional Explorations
Coupling my penchant for tamales with their endless variety, it
would be easy to fill a volume with regional specialties. I have
chosen, instead, not to test any reader’s patience, including in this
list only the most distinctive, easy-to-find ones. CuliacГЎn, Sinaloa:
large tamales with meat and vegetables, plus everyday smaller ones
made of sweetened brown beans, pineapple and fresh corn, among
others. Veracruz: fresh corn tamales with pork and the anise-flavored
herb hoja santa, plus banana leaf—wrapped tamales made from
smooth masa, chicken and the same herb. Monterrey: small, cigarsize tamales of smooth or coarse dough flavored with red chiles and
filled with shredded meat. Oaxaca: large, banana leaf—wrapped
tamales laced with the special Oaxacan black mole, plus husk-wrapped
ones filled with the local green or yellow moles, black beans or the
herb called chepil. YucatГЎn: very large pit- or oven-baked tamales
called pibipollos, made of smooth-ground masa flavored with achiote
and filled with chicken and/or pork; also, chanchames (husk-wrapped
tamales with achiote-flavored filling), vaporcitos (a thin layer of masa
patted on banana leaf, folded over a filling, then steamed), tamales
colados (a very light, precooked dough of strained masa and broth,
with a filling of chicken, tomato and achiote), among others. San
CristГіbal de las Casas, Chiapas: tamales untados are banana
leaf—wrapped tamales filled with pork and a sweet, light mole (sold
at houses that put out a red lantern on Saturday night); tamales de
mumu are wrapped in cornhusks with a preliminary wrapper of
mumu leaf (related to the hoja santa), among many others. MichoacГЎn:
the smooth, dense (but tender) unfilled rhomboid shapes called corundas, wrapped in the leaves of the corn plant; also, fresh corn tamales called uchepos. Northwestern Mexico, especially PГЎnuco,
Veracruz: huge three-or four-foot tamales called zacahuiles, made
from very coarsely ground corn flavored with red chile, filled with
pork, wrapped in banana leaves and baked in a huge, wood-heated
oven in special restaurants on weekends. Central and West Central
Mexico: See the notes.
TAMAL MAKING
Preparing Cornhusks or Banana Leaves. For cornhusks: Simmer the
husks in water to cover for 10 minutes. Weight with a plate to keep
them submerged, and let stand off the fire for a couple of hours until
the husks are pliable.
274 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
When you are ready to form the tamales, separate out the largest
and most pliable husks—ones that are at least 6 inches across on the
wider end and 6 or 7 inches long. If you can’t find enough good
ones, overlap some of the larger ones to give wide, sturdy, unbroken
surfaces to spread the dough on. Pat the chosen leaves dry with a
towel.
For banana leaves: Defrost overnight in the refrigerator if they’re
frozen, then unfold and cut off the long, hard side of the leaf (where
it was attached to the central vein). Look for holes or rips, then cut
the leaf into unbroken, 12-inch segments.
Set up a large steamer with about an inch of water; loosely roll up
the banana-leaf squares, place in the steamer, cover and steam for
20 to 30 minutes, until the leaves are soft and very pliable. Or simply
pass the banana leaves slowly over a medium gas flame, one at a
time, until they change texture (as the oil rises to the surface) and
become more pliable; don’t overdo it or they’ll become brittle.
Setting up the steamer for tamales. Steaming less than 20 huskwrapped tamales can be done in a collapsible vegetable steamer set
into a large, deep saucepan. For larger quantities, you need something like the kettle-size tamal steamers used in Mexico (and occasionally sold in the United States); mine is a two-part apparatus, the
bottom of the top half of which is perforated for steam to pass
through. You can improvise by setting a wire rack on 4 upturned
custard cups in a large kettle.
When steaming banana leaf—wrapped tamales, you need lots of
space. In Mexico, they use the large steamers described above and
stack the tamales on top of each other. I prefer to lay the tamales in
single layers in stacked Chinese bamboo steamers; they cook more
evenly and retain their shape better. Lacking the Mexican or Chinese
alternatives, improvise a supported-rack assemblage in a kettle.
It is best to line all steamers with extra cornhusks or banana leaves
to protect the tamales from direct steam contact and to add more
flavor. Make sure that there are small openings for drainage, so
condensing steam won’t pool.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 275
Dough and filling on corn husk
Bringing up sides-to-enclose dough and filling
Forming Tamales. To form tamales in cornhusks: First tear extra
husks into ¼-inch-wide, 7-inch-long strips—one for each tamal. Lay
out a large, lightly dried cornhusk with the tapering end toward
you. Spread a portion (3 tablespoons or Вј cup, depending on the
recipe) of the dough into about a 4-inch square, leaving at least a
1ВЅ-inch border on the side toward you and a Вѕ-inch border along
the other sides (with large husks, the borders will be much bigger).
Spoon the filling (if there is one) down the center of the dough. Pick
up the two long sides of the cornhusk and bring them together (this
will cause the dough to surround the filling). If the uncovered borders of the two long sides you’re holding are narrow, then tuck one
side under the other; if wide, then roll both sides in the same direction around the tamal. If the husk is small, wrap the tamal in a second
husk. Finally, fold up the empty 1ВЅ-inch section of the husk (to form
a tightly closed “bottom,” leaving the top open), then secure it in
place by loosely tying one of the strips of husk around the tamal. As
they’re made, stand the tamales on the folded bottom in the prepared
steamer. Don’t tie the tamales too tightly or pack them too closely in
the steamer; they need room to expand.
276 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
golding and tying husk-wrapped tamal
Tamal in steamer lined with husks
Dough and filling on banana leaf
To form tamales in banana leaves: First cut a 12-inch length of string
for each tamal. Then lay out one of the prepared squares of banana
leaf, shiny-side up, and spread one portion (usually ВЅ cup) dough
into an 8x4-inch rectangle over it, as shown in the illustration. Spoon
or lay the filling over the left side of the rectangle of dough, then
fold in the right third of the leaf so that the dough encloses the filling.
Fold in the uncovered third of the leaf, then fold in the top and bottom. Loosely tie the tamales with string and set them in the steamer.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 277
golding leaf to enclose filling in dough
Folding in edger of leaf
Tying banana leaf-wrapped tamal
278 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Steaming Tamales. When all tamales are in the steamer, cover them
with a layer of leftover husks or banana leaves; if your husk-wrapped
tamales don’t take up the entire steamer, fill in the open spaces with
loosely wadded aluminum foil (to keep the tamales from falling
down). Set the lid in place and steam over a constant medium heat
for about 1 hour for tamales made from fresh masa, 1Вј to 1ВЅ hours
for those made from the substitute. Watch carefully that all the water
doesn’t boil away and, to keep the steam steady, pour boiling water
into the pot when more is necessary.
Tamales are done when the husk or leaf peels away easily; tamales
made from the substitute masa may seem a little sticky when they
are done. Let tamales stand in the steamer off the fire for a few
minutes, to firm up.
Different ways-to form tamales
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 279
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Adding Liquid to the Dough: Stiff dough means crumbly, dry and
heavy tamales. Dough made of fresh masa should be the consistency
of a medium-thick cake batter, but no stiffer; dough made of the
substitute masa will be slightly stiffer. It is impossible to give the exact
quantity of broth you’ll need, since fresh masa can vary greatly in its
consistency.
Beating the Dough: With all ingredients at room temperature, the
dough will be pliable enough to trap lots of air during the beating
(ensuring light and tender tamales).
Preparing Tamal Dough in a Food Processor: When you are making
tamal dough with no more than 1 pound of masa, you may measure
all but the broth into the bowl of the food processor, pulse several
times, then run the machine for 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down
the sides at least once. With the processor running, pour in the broth
in a steady stream. Season with salt. Test the lightness by dropping a
little dough into cold water: If it sinks, process for a little longer, then
test again.
Steaming Tamales: To dispel a common misconception: Unless
condensing steam runs directly into one of the husks, a tamal with an
open end will not be the least bit soggy from its contact with the steam.
Tamales need uninterrupted medium steam for the first 45 minutes of
cooking.
Ingredients
Coarse-GroundMasaforTamalesvs.SmoothMasaforTortillasandtheSubstitutes:
Though the coarse-ground dough produces the most tender,
interestingly textured tamales, I sometimes enjoy tamales made from
the smooth-ground tortilla masa (as in Nuevo León—Style Tamales,—so
use what you can get. The substitute dough turns out quite an
authentic-tasting, light tamal, but one that is softer and tastes more
like grits than like coarse-ground fresh masa.
Lard: Tradition calls for lard in tamales. If it is top quality and fresh, it
adds a delicious, pleasant taste—even to the sweet ones. Like some
Mexican cooks, however, I use part butter in my fresh-corn and sweet
tamales. If you plan to use vegetable shortening, choose a tamal recipe
that calls for a flavoring in the dough.
280 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Cornhusks and Banana Leaves: See, respectively. Both the husks and
the leaves give a distinctive flavor to the tamales, so I hesitate to
recommend any alternatives. Since banana leaves are more difficult
to find, however, I’ll pass along that you can replace them with squares
of aluminum foil or parchment paper; for the Yucatecan Baked Tamal,
simply omit the banana leaves altogether.
Advance Preparation
Finished tamales will stay warm for 45 minutes in the steamer on the
fire. Or they can be made several days ahead and stored in the
refrigerator, well wrapped; they may also be successfully frozen. For
the best results, reheat cooked, defrosted tamales in a steamer for 10
to 15 minutes.
Alternative Forming Methods for Cornhusk- Wrapped Tamales:
In the United States, our husk-wrapped tamales are frequently smaller
than those in Mexico because our husks are smaller, having been cut
off well above the broad, cupped base. Though the size limits the
variations on forming techniques, you can also (1) form the tamal in
the middle of the husk, roll it up and tie on both ends, or (2) form the
tamal in the middle of the husk, roll it up, fold in both ends (slightly
overlapping them) and tie a string of husk around the middle to hold
the ends in place. With our small husks, both variations either make
very small tamales or constrain them so much that they can’t rise.
SUBSTITUTE MASA
FOR TAMALES
Masa Fingida para Tamales
YIELD: about 2 cups (1 pound) tamal dough
2
/3 cups (4 ounces) quick-cooking (not instant) grits
Вѕ cup (3ВЅ ounces) masa harina
1. The grits. Pulverize the grits in a spice grinder or blender
(preferably fitted with a miniblend container) as thoroughly as
possible. Transfer to a medium-size bowl.
2. Finishing the dough. Stir in 1Вј cups boiling water and let stand
10 minutes. Measure in the masa harina and stir until thoroughly
homogeneous. Cover and cool to room temperature.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 281
TAMALES WITH
CHICKEN AND GREEN SAUCE
Tamales de Pollo y Salsa Verde
It is this style of tamal that most of Mexico holds up as exemplary:
a white, light, tender, even-textured loaf of coarsely ground
corn…with just a little flavorful sauce and a few shreds of meat to
fill it. Some North Americans may be a little surprised with them,
especially if they’ve been raised with the Texan tamales made from
flavored dough and lots of saucy insides. Perhaps it takes a couple
of bites before you can turn your focus from filling to casing and begin
to enjoy the cake’s moist—corn bread texture.
If you’re having a tamal party as described above, these tamales—with chicken and green sauce or with one of the variation
fillings—are a must. Or serve them as a first course (removed from
their wrappers or presented attractively atop them) before CharcoalGrilled Chicken or Fish with Toasted Garlic; top the tamales with a
little tomatillo sauce and some chopped onion.
YIELD:
about 16 medium-size tamales, serving 4 or 5 as a light main
course
ВЅ 8-ounce package dried cornhusks
For the dough:
4 ounces (ВЅ cup) good-quality, fresh lard (see Ingredient notes
1 pound (about 2 cups) fresh masa for tamales, store-bought
or homemade (
OR about 2 cups (1 recipe) Substitute Masa for Tamales
About 2/3 cup broth (preferably light-flavored poultry broth),
at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
For the filling:
11
/3 cups Shredded Chicken
ВЅ cup Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce
282 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1. The cornhusks. Follow the directions for soaking the husks, then
pick out 16 large ones for wrappers; reserve the remainder for ties
and for lining the steamer.
2. The dough. If the lard is very soft, refrigerate it to firm a little.
Then, with an electric mixer, beat it until very light, about 1 minute.
Add half the fresh or substitute masa to the lard and beat it until well
blended. As you continue beating, alternate additions of the remaining masa with douses of broth, adding enough liquid to give the
mixture the consistency of a medium-thick cake batter. Sprinkle in
the baking powder and enough salt to generously season the mixture,
then beat for about a minute more, until about ВЅ teaspoon of it will
float when placed in a cup of cold water.
3. The filling. Mix the shredded chicken with the cooked tomatillo
sauce and set aside.
4. Forming and steaming the tamales. Following the directions, set
up a small steamer and line it with cornhusks; then use the dough
to form 16 cornhusk-wrapped tamales (each will take about 3 tablespoons dough), filling each one with 1ВЅ tablespoons of the filling.
Finally, cover the tamales with any remaining cornhusks, set the lid
in place, and steam for 1 to 1ВЅ hours, until they come free from the
husks.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 283
COOK’S NOTES
Additional NotesTiming
If the masa and fillings are on hand, allow 45 minutes to prepare the
tamales and 1 to 1ВЅ hours to steam them.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Tamales with a Variety of Fillings: Prepare the tamales according to
the recipe, replacing the mixture of shredded chicken and tomatillo
sauce with one of the following:
11/3 cups Shredded Chicken or pork mixed with about ВЅ cup
Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce
11/3 cups Shredded Chicken or pork mixed with about ВЅ cup
medium-thick Red Mole
1ВЅ cups Minced Pork Picadillo
1ВЅ cups Northern-Style Shredded Beef mixed with Вј cup chopped
olives
8 ounces flavorful melting cheese like Monterey Jack or mild cheddar,
cut in 2Г—Вј-inch sticks, and mixed with 1 chile poblano (roasted, peeled,
seeded and sliced)
1ВЅ cups Roasted Pepper Rajas with Tomato
Regional Explorations
Though tamales of this sort (with the full array of fillings) are emulated
by everyone, they are found in greatest concentration in Central and
West-Central Mexico. In San Luis PotosГ­, every cafeterГ­a has tamales
filled with pork or ground-meat picadillo; in Puebla (as well as Mexico
City), they make them with chicken, pork, green chiles and cheese,
and flavor them with mole, tomato or tomatillo sauce. And
Aguascalientes serves the same general assortment, but adds chopped
vegetables and redchile sauce.
Kitchen Spanish
This sort of tamal generally carries no name other than the
filling—except in Puebla, where they call them tamales cernidos (literally
“sifted tamales”) because the dough is (said to be) sifted to remove all
the hard-to-grind germs of the corn. Most Pueblan tamal makers I
talked to, though, buy a dry mix that looks like fine grits.
284 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
SWEET TAMALES
Tamales de Dulce
As incongruous as sweet tamales might sound, the entire Republic
of Mexico seems to have a passion for them—made exactly like the
savory ones, with sugar in place of salt and a few raisins dropped
in for filling. The flavor is difficult to compare to anything else, but
I can report that I’d rather have one than a croissant or Danish any
day.
This recipe, like the preceding one, is traditional; I have learned
many details of the preparation from Josefina Velázquez de León’s
paperback Tamales y atoles. When you’re having a tamal party, the
sweet ones should always be included; but they are also very good
for a winter brunch, with Eggs a la Mexicana and Chocolate Atole.
Or remove them from their husks, lightly fry in butter, and serve
with sour cream, ham and some fruit for a Sunday night supper.
YIELD:
about 12 medium-size tamales, serving 6 as a snack
ВЅ 8-ounce package dried cornhusks
For the dough:
4 ounces (ВЅ cup) good-quality, fresh lard, butter, vegetable
shortening or combination thereof, slightly softened
Вѕ cup sugar
1 pound (about 2 cups) fresh masa for tamales, store-bought
or homemade
OR about 2 cups (1 recipe) Substitute Masa for Tamales
About ВЅ cup any light-flavored poultry broth or milk, at room
temperature
Вј teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
Вј to 1/3 cup raisins or candied fruit
1. The cornhusks. Follow the directions for soaking the husks, then
pick out 12 large ones for wrappers; reserve the remainder for ties
and for lining the steamer.
2. The dough. Beat the lard, butter and/or vegetable shortening
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 285
with an electric mixer until very light, about 1 minute. Beat in the
sugar and half the fresh or substitute masa. With the mixer on, alternate additions of the remaining masa with douses of broth (or milk),
adding enough liquid to give the mixture the consistency of a medium-thick cake batter. Add the salt and baking powder, then beat for
1 minute longer, until a little batter floats in a cup of cold water.
3. Forming and steaming the tamales. As outlined, set up a small
steamer and line it with cornhusks; then use the dough to form 12
cornhusk-wrapped tamales (each will take about Вј cup dough), filling
each one with a few raisins or a little candied fruit. Finally, top the
tamales with any remaining cornhusks, cover and steam for 1 to 1ВЅ
hours, until they come free from the wrappers.
286 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Additional NotesIngredients
Lard, Sugar and Broth: Truthfully, the sweet-savory combination is
delicious, since neither the lard nor the broth mask the sweet masa
taste. If you really can’t imagine it, replace lard and broth with butter
and milk, as a few recipes suggest.
Timing
If the masa is on hand, it takes about 45 minutes to prepare the tamales
and 1 to 1ВЅ hours to steam them.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Coconut or Nut Tamales: Add 2/3 cup grated fresh coconut or chopped
pecans, blanched almonds or hazelnuts (toasted) to the dough and
complete as directed.
Red-Tinted Tamales: Typically, the dough of sweet tamales is “painted”
with a streak of diluted red food coloring.
Pineapple Tamales: Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing the broth
or milk with 1 cup pureed fresh pineapple.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Dried-Fruit Tamales: Add 2/3 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, figs,
dates and the like), Вј cup toasted pine nuts and Вј teaspoon ground
cinnamon to the dough, and complete as directed.
Regional Explorations
Sweet tamales are made in the style of the Central/West-Central
light-textured variety and are most frequently enjoyed in areas known
for good tamales. Sometimes they show up studded with coconut,
pineapple, even bits of candied fruit. In Veracruz, some market stalls
have bright-red strawberry ones, and at the CenadurГ­a San Antonio
in Aguascalientes, they include nuts and rompope (egg liqueur).
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 287
Fresh-Corn Tamales with Picadillo
288 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
FRESH-CORN TAMALES
Tamales de Elote
These tamales have a moist, corny flavor that is beautifully enhanced
by their fresh-husk wrappers. Straight from the steamer or browned
in butter and served with Thick Cream and Mexican queso fresco or
Salsa Picante, there is no better eating.
Most all fresh-corn tamales in Mexico are made from 100 percent
starchy field corn, which has less moisture and more body than our
sweet corn. Unfortunately, a cook can’t substitute sweet for field
and come out with anything but a soupy mess, so I’ve adopted the
alternative approach I discovered at the Pichanchas restaurant in
Tuxtla GutiГ©rrez, Chiapas: Combine masa and fresh corn.
YIELD: about 12 medium-size tamales, serving 6 as a snack or appet-
izer
2 large ears fresh sweet corn in their husks
1 pound (about 2 cups) fresh masa for tamales, store-bought
or homemade
OR about 2 cups (1 recipe) Substitute Masa for Tamales
2 ounces (ВЅ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ВЅ-inch bits and
slightly softened
2 ounces (Вј cup) good-quality, fresh lard, cut into ВЅ-inch bits
2 tablespoons sugar
ВЅ teaspoon salt
1ВЅ teaspoons baking powder
1. The corn and husks. With a large knife, cut through the ears of
corn just above where cob joins stalk. Carefully remove the husks
without tearing, wrap in plastic and set aside. Pull off the corn silk
and discard. Slice off the corn kernels and place in the bowl of a food
processor. Scrape the cobs with the end of a spoon to remove all the
little bits of remaining corn and add to the food processor. Process
the corn to a medium-coarse puree.
2. The dough. Add the fresh or substitute masa to the corn, along
with the butter, lard, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pulse the processor several times, then let it run for 1 minute, until the mixture
is light and homogeneous.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 289
3. Forming and steaming the tamales. As described, set up a small
steamer and line it with the smallest husks. Then use the dough to
form 12 unfilled tamales (each will take about Вј cup) wrapped in the
largest of the fresh husks (or use 2 overlapping husks if small). (If
the husks roll up, becoming difficult to work with, blanch them
briefly in simmering water and they will relax.) Set the tamales in
the husk-lined steamer, top with additional husks, cover and steam
for 1 to 1ВЅ hours, until the tamales come free from the husks.
Two-part steamer from Mexico
290 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Additional Notes
See.
Techniques
Making the Dough Without a Food Processor: Coarsely puree the corn
in two batches in a blender, without adding any liquid. Beat the butter
and lard, then add the masa, corn and remaining ingredients. Beat
until light.
Ingredients
Fresh Corn: Select ears with their husks intact, since the husk is used
to wrap the tamales. If fresh corn isn’t available, replace it with 2 cups
frozen corn (defrosted) and wrap the tamales in soaked, dried
cornhusks.
Timing
If the masa is on hand, you’ll need less than an hour to make the tamales
and 1 to 1ВЅ hours to steam them.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fresh-Corn Tamales with Picadillo: Prepare about 1Вј cups Minced
Pork Picadillo. Make the tamales as directed, using 3 tablespoons dough
and 1ВЅ tablespoons picadillo for each one.
Fresh-Corn Tamales with Rajas and Cheese: Prepare the tamales as
directed, using 3 tablespoons dough for each one and filling with 1
chile poblano (roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced) and 6 ounces melting
cheese like Monterey Jack or mild cheddar, cut into 3-inch sticks.
NOTE: The sugar may be omitted from the dough in these variations.
The quantities may be doubled and the tamales formed in banana leaves
as directed.
Regional Explorations
At the veracruzano restaurant Fonda el Recuerdo in Mexico City, they
serve sweet, butterfried fresh-corn tamales topped with fresh cheese.
In Veracruz, though, the popular fresh-corn tamales are typically
unsweetened, unfried and filled with herby pork. Less adorned
fresh-corn tamales are pictes in Chiapas, uchepos in Michoacán; they’re
popular everywhere.
NUEVO LEÓN—STYLE
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 291
TAMALES
Tamales Estilo Nuevo LeГіn
Moister, more compact and shot through with the flavors of dried
chile and spices—these are the small tamales from the Northern
border state of Nuevo LeГіn, and they closely resemble the ones I
grew up eating in Oklahoma and Texas. In Mexico, they’re not the
most widely sought-after variety, but I’ve included this recipe based
on one from Velázquez de León’s Cocina de Nuevo León because it
re-creates a taste many of us enjoy.
You could serve them on your own combination plate, a la
norteamericana, with Cheese Chiles Rellenos, Crispy-Fried Tacos, Frijoles Refritos and Mexican Rice. I also think they make a very good
supper, with just a dollop of fried beans and a salad. At a tamal party,
they’re a real hit.
YIELD:
about 16 medium-size tamales, serving 4 or 5 as a light main
course
ВЅ 8-ounce package dried cornhusks
For the filling:
12 ounces lean, boneless pork shoulder, cut into ВЅ-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt, plus about Вј teaspoon more for the finished
sauce
3 large (about 1ВЅ ounces total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
2 large (about 2/3 ounce total) dried chiles cascabeles norteГ±os
or California/New Mexico chiles, stemmed, seeded and
deveined
1
/8 teaspoon black peppercorns (or a scant Вј teaspoon ground)
Вј teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous Вј teaspoon ground)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
Sugar, about 1 teaspoon
2 tablespoon raisins (optional)
Вј cup roughly chopped, pitted green olives (optional)
For the dough:
292 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
4 ounces (ВЅ cup) good-quality, fresh lard (see Ingredients
notes
1 pound (about 2 cups) fresh masa for tortillas or tamales,
store-bought or homemade
OR 1Вѕ cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
hot tap water
OR about 2 cups (1 recipe) Substitute Masa for Tamales
1 teaspoon baking powder
ВЅ teaspoon salt
1. The cornhusks. Follow the directions for soaking the husks, then
pick out 16 large ones for wrappers; reserve the remainder for ties
and for lining the steamer.
2. The meat and chiles. Measure 4 cups water into a medium-size
saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the pork and salt, skim off any grayish
foam that rises during the first few minutes of simmering, partially
cover and simmer over medium heat until the meat is very tender,
about 40 minutes.
Tear the chiles into large, flat pieces and toast them a few at a time
on a griddle or heavy skillet set over medium heat. With a metal
spatula, press them firmly down until they crackle, blister and change
color, then flip them over and press them down again. Remove the
toasted chiles to a small bowl, cover with boiling water, weight with
a plate to keep them submerged and soak 20 minutes.
3. The filling. Drain the broth from the meat, let it stand for a few
minutes, then skim the fat off the top. Drain the chiles and place
them in a blender jar. Measure the spices into a mortar or spice
grinder, pulverize and add to the blender along with the garlic and
Вѕ cup of the broth. Blend until smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve.
Heat the lard or oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high.
When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add
it all at once; stir for 4 or 5 minutes, as it sears and thickens. Add Вѕ
cup of the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, simmer 15
minutes, stirring occasionally, then season with salt and sugar; there
should be about 1 cup of medium-thick sauce.
While the sauce is simmering, break up the meat into coarse
shreds. Measure Вј cup of the sauce into a small bowl to cool, then
stir the remainder into the meat, along with the optional raisins and
olives. Set aside to cool.
4. The dough. If the lard is very soft, refrigerate it to firm a little.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 293
Then, with an electric mixer, beat it until very light, about 1 minute.
Add half the fresh or substitute masa and the Вј cup cooled sauce to
the lard and beat until well blended. As you continue beating, alternate additions of the remaining masa with douses of the cooled meat
broth, ultimately adding about ВЅ cup, or enough to give the mixture
the consistency of medium-thick cake batter. Finally, sprinkle in the
baking powder and salt, then beat for about 1 minute, until a little
dough will float when dropped into a cup of cold water.
5. Forming and steaming the tamales. Following the directions, set
up a small steamer and line it with cornhusks; then use the dough
to form about 16 husk-wrapped tamales (each will take about 3 tablespoons dough), filling each one with 1ВЅ tablespoons of the meat
filling. Finally, cover the tamales with any remaining cornhusks, set
the lid in place and steam for 1 to 1ВЅ hours, until they come free
from the husks.
Dried ancho chiles
294 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Additional Notes
See.
Ingredients
Chiles Anchos and Cascabeles: The Northern cascabeles are like our
California or New Mexico chile pods and can be replaced one for one.
If anchos aren’t available, the sauce can be made entirely of the
California/New Mexico variety, though the flavor isn’t as rich.
Timing
If the masa is on hand, allow about 1Вј hours to prepare the tamales
and 1 to 1ВЅ hours to steam them.
a few mexican beers
YUCATECAN BAKED
TAMAL IN BANANA LEAVES
Pibipollo
The rustic-looking big corn cakes, half wrapped in the brittle banana
leaves that covered them during baking, sit in baskets or on shelves
in half a dozen food stalls in the MГ©rida market. Pibipollos they call
them, or a more rhythmic-sounding name in Mayan, and they’re
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 295
redolent with the full-flavored achiote seasoning paste and the strong
scent of the leaves.
This recipe, based on proportions from the Recetario mexicano del
maíz, closely replicates one I tasted in nearby Campeche—light,
moist, tender and made with coarse-ground (instead of the typical
smoother, denser) masa. It’s a good illustration of how thorough
beating makes light tamales (even without baking powder).
Pibipollo is the perfect dish to make for an informal Sunday supper
with spirited friends. You could pair it with a salad and serve a crisp
Corona beer or Almond-Rice Cooler to drink.
one 8-inch-square tamal, serving 4 as a light main course
For the filling:
YIELD:
2 chicken leg-and-thigh portions
1ВЅ teaspoons Achiote Seasoning Paste
1 sprig epazote (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled
and chopped into ВЅ-inch pieces
OR ВЅ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped into ВЅ-inch
pieces
1
/3 cup (about 3 ounces) fresh masa for tamales, store-bought
or homemade
OR a generous ВЅ cup masa harina mixed with 6 tablespoons
hot tap water
Salt, about 1/8 teaspoon
For the dough:
6 ounces (Вѕ cup) good-quality, fresh lard (see Ingredients
notes)
1ВЅ pounds (about 3 cups) fresh masa for tamales, store-bought
or homemade
OR about 3 cups (1ВЅ recipes) Substitute Masa for Tamales
About 1 cup broth (preferably light-flavored poultry broth),
at room temperature
2 teaspoons Achiote Seasoning Paste
Salt, about Вѕ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
For wrapping the tamal:
296 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
2 unbroken, 12-inch squares of banana leaf
1. The filling. Measure 3 cups of water into a medium-size saucepan, bringing to a boil and add the chicken. Skim off the grayish
foam that rises during the first few minutes of simmering, then add
the achiote seasoning, epazote and tomato. Partially cover and simmer
over medium heat for 25 minutes; if there is time, let the chicken
cool in the broth.
Remove the chicken and epazote from the broth, set the pan over
medium-high heat and reduce the liquid to 11/3 cups. Skin, bone
and coarsely shred the chicken meat.
Place the fresh or reconstituted masa in a blender jar or food processor and pour in Вѕ cup of the reduced broth. Cover loosely and
blend until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into the
broth remaining in the saucepan, set over medium heat and whisk
constantly as the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick white
sauce. Remove from the heat, season with salt, stir in the shredded
chicken and cool.
2. The dough. If the lard is very soft, refrigerate it to firm a little.
Then, with an electric mixer, beat it for about a minute, until light.
Beat half the fresh or substitute masa into the lard. With the machine
still going, beat in alternate additions of the remaining masa and
broth, adding enough liquid to give the mixture the consistency of
a medium-thick cake batter. Beat in the achiote paste and enough salt
to generously season the mixture. Continue beating until a little of
the mixture will float in a cup of cold water.
3. Forming and baking the tamal. Preheat the oven to 350В°. Trim and
steam or flame-soften the squares of banana leaf as described. Fit 1
piece, shiny-side up, into an 8-inch-square pan, folding the corners
so the leaf follows the contour of the pan. Spread 2/3 of the dough
over the bottom and up the sides, then spoon in the filling. Spread
the remaining dough in an 8-inch square on the shiny side of the
other leaf, then flip it over onto the pan, completely covering the
filling. Fold in the banana leaf that overhangs the edges, then tightly
cover the pan with foil.
Bake for about 1 hour, until the top leaf comes easily away from
the dough. Let stand, covered, for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 297
Lava rock grinding stone (metate)
298 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Adding Liquid, Beating the Dough and Preparing It in the Food Processor:
See.
Cooking with Achiote: Other recipes may call for coloring oil or lard
by frying the whole achiote in it. It’s common in the Caribbean, but I
don’t think it adds as much flavor as using the whole seed ground,
which is the common Yucatecan method.
Ingredients
Epazote: Though typically Yucatecan, the flavor is light in this dish;
replace it, if necessary, with flat-leaf parsley.
Fresh Masa, Lard and Banana Leaves:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If the masa and achiote paste are on hand, you’ll need about 1¼ hours
to prepare the dish and 1 hour to bake it. The filling may be prepared
a couple of days ahead, covered and refrigerated; or the whole dish
may be assembled, covered and refrigerated 2 hours before baking.
While it can be baked ahead and rewarmed, it is best just after it comes
from the oven.
Regional Explorations
There is quite a variety of these big, leaf-wrapped tamales sold around
the Yucatecan markets, filled with chicken, pork or the little fresh
black-skinned bean they call espelГіn. All of them are pibes (a catchall
term that refers to their originally having been baked in a pib (“oven”)
in the ground), with the everyday chicken-filled pibipollo measuring
in at 10 to 12 inches in diameter and a good inch thick.
Mexican cooks know many home-style versions of
tamales de cazuela—two layers of masa with a filling in
between, baked tightly covered in a cazuela (“casserole”).
The pibipollo is similar (usually with nothing but banana
leaves to contain it), and it’s public (rather than home-style)
food. In fact, it’s one of the most celebrated fiesta dishes in
Yucatán (associated most closely with All Saints’ Day).
Kitchen Spanish
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 299
If, in your own explorations, you become confused by terminology,
remember that mucbipollo, pibipollo, shacabihua, cortados, pib de pollo or
just plain pibes all refer to more or less the same special dish.
OAXACAN-STYLE
TAMALES
Tamales Estilo OaxaqueГ±o
I knew I’d love these tamales the first time I smelled the fragrance
rise from their steaming pot. Oaxacan MarГ­a Villalobos showed me
how to make them back in 1978 in Mexico City, and the lesson included everything from shopping for the prized, large-kernel corn
(maГ­z cacahuacincle) at Merced Market, to grinding the cooked corn
for the dough and folding the banana leaves to hold the mole-laced
insides.
What follows is based on María’s recipe, though I’ve called for
Pueblan mole in place of the classic black Oaxacan one; peppers for
the latter, unfortunately, aren’t available in the United States. The
tamales make a very nice supper dish, nestled in their opened
wrappers and served with a dab of Frijoles Refritos, a bowl of fresh
greens and the traditional cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate or
Chocolate Atole (Champurrado.
YIELD:
about 10 large tamales, serving 5 as a main course
10 unbroken, 12-inch squares of banana leaf
For the dough:
8 ounces (1 cup) good-quality, fresh lard (see Ingredients notes
2 pounds (about 4 cups) fresh masa for tamales, store-bought
or homemade
OR about 4 cups (2 recipes) Substitute Masa for Tamales
About 11/3 cups broth (preferably light-flavored poultry broth),
at room temperature
1ВЅ tablespoons medium-thick Mole Poblano (see Ingredients
in Cook’s Notes)
1ВЅ teaspoons baking powder
300 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Salt, about 1 teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth)
For the filling:
About 1ВЅ cups Shredded Chicken
About 1ВЅ cups medium-thick Mole Poblano (see Ingredients
in Cook’s Notes)
1. The banana leaves. Follow the directions for trimming and
steaming or flame-softening the squares of banana leaf. Set extra
leaves aside for lining the steamer.
2. The dough. If the lard is very soft, refrigerate it to firm a little.
With an electric mixer, beat the lard for a minute or so, until very
light. Beat in half the fresh or substitute masa. Continue beating as
you alternate additions of the remaining masa and the broth; add
enough liquid to give the mixture the consistency of a medium-thick
cake batter. Beat in the 1ВЅ tablespoons mole and the baking powder,
then generously season the batter with salt. Continue beating the
mixture until a little of the mixture will float in a cup of cold water.
3. Forming and steaming the tamales. As described, set up a large
steamer and line it with pieces of banana leaves; then, use the dough
to form 10 banana leaf—wrapped tamales (each will take about ½
cup), filling each one with 2 tablespoons of the chicken and 2 tablespoons of the mole. Finally, lay any remaining banana leaves over
the tamales, cover and steam for 1 to 1ВЅ hours, until they come free
from the leaves.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 301
COOK’S NOTES
Additional Notes
See.
Ingredients
Mole: If you make your own mole, you can color the dough with the
fat skimmed off the mole (as they do in Oaxaca) rather than the sauce
itself. For flavoring these tamales, you could eke by with a good brand
of thinned, bottled mole.
Timing
With the masa and fillings on hand, the tamales take about 1Вј hours
to make; steaming takes 1 to 1ВЅ hours.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Yucatecan-Style Fish Tamales: Prepare 1 recipe Yucatecan Tomato
Sauce, simmering it until quite thick. Cut 1 pound boneless, skinless
meaty fish fillets (like halibut, sea bass or shark) into small strips. Make
the tamales as directed, flavoring the masa with 2 teaspoons Achiote
Seasoning Paste rather than mole, and filling each one with a portion
of fish and 2 tablespoons of sauce.
Regional Explorations
These tamales are sold, served and eaten everywhere in Oaxaca
City—from the market stalls to the nice restaurants. They are moister,
perhaps a little more compact than the Central Mexican—style tamales;
the dough is always flavored a little and the leaves give them a good
herby flavor.
MOLES
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 303
Mole, the Spaniards said when they heard the Aztecs call a stew or
sauce molli. It was a useful, well-used word that continued to stick
to many traditional dishes, while the newly arrived words guisado
and salsa landed on preparations with shallower roots, with a less
indigenous profile. Today, the word mole has survived in guacamole
(literally “avocado” plus “sauce”) and in molcajete (“mortar,” literally
“sauce” plus “bowl”) and in dozens of other culinary terms; and, of
course, it survives intact as the names of a whole collection of
uniquely Mexican main courses.
Is mole—that is, does mole refer to—the sauce only? Or is it the
stew, meat and all? These questions have been debated for hundreds
of years, though I’d be inclined to say the point is moot. Mexican
sauces are not the “napping” variety—as would be a light butter
sauce or hollandaise, say. Rather, the sauces are the dish—the bulk,
the vegetables, the flavorings, the nutrition. And anyone who’s been
served a plate of mole poblano anywhere but the most elegant restaurants knows that the “sauce” comes in what seems inordinately large
quantities. The sauce and the stew, it seems to me, are one and the
same.
Of course, all this historical detail amounts to little when you say
mole today…when you say mole poblano. Nonnatives immediately
think “chocolate chicken,” while natives’ mouths water to visions
of a dark, complex sauce made of dried chiles, nuts, seeds, flavoring
vegetables, spices and, yes, a bit of chocolate. The famous Pueblan
specialty, originally called mole de olores (“fragrant mole”), took its
place of origin as a surname, but today one need only say mole to be
understood as meaning mole poblano.
Should you summon the energy to move past the lauded Pueblan
dish, other moles are available at easy reach—spanning the spectrum
of culinary colors and textures and flavors. But not just any Mexican
stew/sauce seems to qualify: They’re always cooked sauces, rather
than the condiments we spoon onto tacos; they’re red-chile sauces,
or ones thick with nuts and seeds, or ones made special with herbs
and spices. Like mole poblano, many are egalitarian celebration dishes
of long standing; they’re as at home in market fondas as they are in
refined restaurants.
Some sort of dark red (roughly Pueblan-style) mole is made all
through Mexico. In Yucatán, it’s known but certainly not indigenous;
there is, however, a local chirmole (literally “chile” plus “sauce”)—a
pungent, black chile stew/sauce—but its flavor is very different
from that of any other mole. Many regions know a green mole made
304 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
with tomatillos, green chiles, herbs and nuts or seeds to thicken and
add flavor. And some have the simple clemole (literally “hot” or
“cooked” plus “sauce”), though it isn’t really a public-food offering.
Then comes Oaxaca with its seven moles: black, two brick-red ones
(one simpler and sweeter, the other more complex), green, yellow,
a dark, gravylike one called chichilo and the popular fruit-filled, mild
red manchamanteles.
Elsewhere, the list goes on to include a chile-red soup called mole
de olla, moles made of lamb barbacoa, and others thickened with
ground seeds from the leguminous guaje trees (gausmole). There are
all sorts of surviving stews/sauces they call mole in one form or another, but there are none that surpass the rich, dark-skinned Mexican
beauty mole poblano. None that bring to the thick earthenware cazuelas
more of the New World complexity and ingenuity or offer more of
the native festal delight.
I’ve spelled out how to make that famous mole in the pages that
follow. Most of you won’t need to be convinced that the involved
preparations for the Mexican National Dish are more than worth
the effort. In addition, I’ve included recipes for a representative
variety of other moles, all of which are simpler and equally delicious
in their own ways.
For mole recipes in other chapters, see “Mole” in the Index.
Keys to Perfect Nut- and Seed-Thickened Sauces
Pureeing Nut- or Seed-Thickened Sauces: For centuries cooks have
crushed nuts, spices and chiles on a three-legged stone metate; the
effect is the same as stone grinding through a mill, though few of
us have that option either. So we’re left with the blender, which
really chops rather than crushes. These hints will help get the
smoothest texture. (1) Don’t puree more than half a blenderful at a
time. (2) Don’t add any more liquid than is necessary to keep the
mixture moving through the blades; if too thin, the entire mixture
won’t be drawn through the blades. (3) Stir the ingredients, blend
on low until everything is uniformly chopped, then blend on high
until smooth when rubbed between your fingers. (4) Always strain
the mixture. (5) If the sauce looks coarse or gritty after simmering,
reblend it, lightly covered, until smooth (a step not generally done
in Mexico).
Serving Nut- or Seed-Thickened Sauces: As these sauces cook (or
when they’re made ahead and refrigerated), they will thicken con-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 305
siderably. The consistency should always be adjusted with a little
broth, if necessary, just before serving. Once spooned onto a serving
platter, the surface of a nut- and seed-thickened sauce may lose its
sheen; spooning on a new coating restores its full beauty.
Mixing and Matching Mexican Sauces and Meats
Most all the saucy Mexican stewed-meat dishes are very flexible
when it comes to which sauces go with which meats. I’ve written
most of the recipes to yield about 3 cups of sauce (enough for 4 or
more servings) so you can easily interchange them with different
meat preparations; simply prepare the sauces with whatever broth
complements the meat. Sauces most commonly served with a variety
of meats are: Mole Poblano, Red Mole, Orange-Red Mole, Green
Pumpkinseed Mole, Pumpkinseed PipiГЎn, Veracruzana Sauce, Adobo
Sauce, Northern-Style Red-Chile Sauce, Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile
Sauce, and Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce. The various meat preparation methods are: chicken (Steps 1–3), duck (Steps 1, 3 and 6), turkey
(Steps 1, 9, 11–12), tongue, pork (Step 1, leaving the meat in large
pieces) and beef (Step 1, leaving the meat in large pieces).
THE STORIES OF MOLE POBLANO
There continue to simmer some engaging debates—between the
covers of cookery books, on paper place mats and in the little
pamphlets they hand out in Puebla—about just when, where and
why mole poblano came to be mole poblano (not to mention whether
the responsible hands were pale or Indian-brown). This dish, after
all, is the most famous Mexican dish—though consumed considerably
less than tacos, my instinct tells me. Clearly, it’s too special to eat
day after day: What tongue wouldn’t eventually fail to appreciate
the breadth of chile flavors embroidered elaborately with textured
nuts and seeds, with the varied bursts of herbs, spices and chocolate,
with the depths and heights of flavorful fruits and vegetables? All
of it from a deep, dark sauce that the uninitiated say looks unapproachable…until they’re captivated by the aroma of a dish originally
known as mole de olor—mole of fragrance.
The proselytizing paper place mat I found lying before me one
morning in Puebla, with its picture of angels holding a pot of True
Mole (with an enormous turkey leg sticking up through the sauce),
describes Sor Andrea’s cleverness in surprising her seventeenthcentury bishop with her newly created mole at the city’s Santa Rosa
306 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Convent. But the passionate cookbooklet given to me in the tourist
office, detailing the stews of the nuns, lays forth with what can only
be described as religious fervor how Bishop FernГЎndez de Santa
Cruz requested Sor Andrea to concoct the Best Dish for Don TomГЎs
Antonio de la Cerda y AragГіn, Viceroy of New Spain, on the third
Sunday before Lent, one of the years between 1680 and 1688. And
I, for one, feel obliged to read the hushed pages reverently, to listen
to the debates carefully, to walk over the sacred tiles of the Santa
Rosa kitchen with studious consideration. As amused as I might
sometimes be about the seriousness that discussions of mole poblano
can induce, I’m captivated by the pride and continuity that these
discussions have engendered.
Paco Ignacio Taibo was captivated enough to write a book about
it all a few years ago (keeping his tongue at least as much in his
cheek as in the sauce). You see, Sr. Taibo believes, as I have for years,
that Mexico has a strong affinity for baroque, and Sor Andrea, of
course, was directing culinary operations at the height of the great
baroque clamor. “Mole,” he says, “wouldn’t be understood outside
a baroque world, and Mexican baroque in Puebla has its most excellent site.” That’s only the beginning for Taibo:
…in the beautiful kitchen, adorned with [Talavera] tiles…[and] fragrant
with spices and chocolate, Sor Andrea had to make very difficult decisions.
[She] decided to go in by the terribly complex ways of gastronomic
baroque and summed up in one dish all of the luxury of the American
country; it was a great moment, above all a valiant moment, very valiant.
To fry an egg is a serious thing, as anyone well knows who can fry one
well, but to make a mole before anyone else is an imaginative thing and
one that only fearless souls could bring to pass.
I can imagine the act of mixing so many products in that kitchen
enlightened by the brilliance of Puebla de Los Angeles; [but] what I
find difficult to imagine is how the dinner ever took place.
I can imagine the coming and going of the nuns, ladened with trays
and pitchers, adorned with their professional smiles and a whispering
wonder.
I find it more difficult to [imagine] that the mole arrived at the
table without the anxious censure of the Mother Superior, who could
have seen in that plate the absolute break with the Court in Madrid.
But what is impossible to imagine is the expression of the Viceroy…when he came face to face with this dark-colored, thick-looking
flattery of uncertain fragrance.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 307
What did that [Viceroy] say when he was confronted with mole?
—PACO IGNACIO TAIBO I, Breviario del
mole poblano [author’s translation]
Well, I remember what I said, that afternoon in Ixmiquilpan,
Hidalgo, when I was sixteen and my tongue was lured by some of
the complex swarthy sauce and a bit of meat. “It’s different,” I think
the words were. But as the first forkful led to the second and third
and fourth, I was hooked, I was ready to order seconds. Alas, it
doesn’t happen for everyone, even someone as worldly as Kate Simon, the insightful explorer of foreign turf. “The visitor soon hears
about the glories of mole,” she writes in Mexico: Places and Pleasures.
“…Obviously, it is a thing to respect, but no non-Mexican has been
known to develop a passion for it…” I’m sorry I’ve never met her.
DARK AND SPICY MOLE
WITH TURKEY
Mole Poblano de Guajolote
After comparing dozens of recipes for Pueblan mole, I’ve come up
with this version, which re-creates the rich-tasting complexity of
what you’ll be served in Mexico’s gastronomic capital. Even with
all the huge mounds of prepared mole pastes availble in the Puebla
market, many of the fonda and restaurant cooks still insist on preparing their own from scratch. Which underscores Paco Ignacio Taibo’s
opinion: “Its recipe isn’t a recipe, but recipes…. For mole there are
as many recipes as there are imaginations.” It’s a remarkable dish.
And it’s worth the effort.
YIELD: 12 to 15 servings, with 3 quarts of sauce
The meat:
a 10- to 12-pound turkey
The chiles:
16 medium (about 8 ounces total) dried chiles mulatos
5 medium (about 2ВЅ ounces total) dried chiles anchos
6 (about 2 ounces total) dried chiles pasillas
1 canned chile chipotle, seeded (optional)
The nuts, seeds, flavorings and thickeners:
308 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Вј cup sesame seeds, plus a little extra for garnish
ВЅ teaspoon coriander seeds
ВЅ cup lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
A heaping 1/3 cup (2 ounces) unskinned almonds
1
/3 cup (about 2 ounces) raisins
ВЅ medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 corn tortilla, stale or dried out
2 slices firm white bread, stale or dried out
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and peeled
OR Вѕ 15-ounce can tomatoes, well drained
The spices:
2
/3 3.3-ounce tablet (about 2 ounces) Mexican chocolate,
roughly chopped
10 black peppercorns (or a scant Вј teaspoon ground)
4 cloves (or about 1/8 teaspoon ground)
ВЅ teaspoon aniseed (or a generous ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1 inch cinnamon stick (or about 1 teaspoon ground)
To finish the dish:
Вј cup lard or vegetable oil
About 2ВЅ quarts poultry broth, preferably made from turkey
Salt, about 2 teaspoons (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
Sugar, about Вј cup
1. The turkey. If your butcher won’t cut up your turkey, do it
yourself: Cut the leg-and-thigh quarters off the body of the turkey,
then slice through the joint that connects the thigh to the leg. Cut
the two wings free from the breast. Then set the turkey up on the
neck end and, with a cleaver, cut down both sides of the backbone
and remove it. Split the breast in half. Reserve the back, neck and
innards (except the liver) to make the broth. Cover the turkey pieces
and refrigerate.
2. The setup. As with any recipe calling for twenty-six different
ingredients, half the battle is won by getting yourself properly set
up. Organize the ingredients as follows: stem, seed and carefully
devein the dried chiles, reserving 2 teaspoons of the seeds; tear the
chiles into flat pieces. If using the chipotle, seed it and set aside. Make
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 309
measured mounds of sesame seeds, coriander seeds, almonds, raisins
and onion. Lay out the garlic, tortilla and bread. Place the tomato
in a large bowl and break it up, then add the chopped chocolate to
it. Pulverize the remaining spices, using a mortar or spice grinder,
then add to the tomato and chocolate. Have the lard or oil and broth
at ready access.
3. Toasting the seeds. In a medium-size skillet set over medium
heat, dry-toast the chile, sesame and coriander seeds, one kind at a
time, stirring each until it has lightly browned. Add to the tomato
mixture.
4. Frying and reconstituting the chiles. Turn on the exhaust fan to
suck up the pungent chile fumes. Measure Вј cup of the lard or oil
into the skillet and, when hot, fry the chile pieces a few at a time for
several seconds per side, until they develop a nut-brown color. Remove them to a large bowl, draining as much fat as possible back
into the skillet. Cover the chiles with boiling water, weight with a
plate to keep them submerged, soak at least 1 hour, then drain and
add the chile chipotle.
5. Frying the almonds, raisins, onion and garlic. Heat the remaining
Вј cup of lard or oil in the skillet, add the almonds and stir frequently
until browned through, about 4 minutes. Remove, draining well,
and add to the tomato mixture. Fry the raisins for a minute or so,
stirring constantly as they puff and brown. Scoop out, draining well,
and add to the tomato mixture. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring
frequently, until well browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Press on them to rid
them of fat, and remove to the mixing bowl with the tomato and
other fried ingredients.
6. Frying the tortilla and bread. If needed, add a little more fat, then
fry the tortilla until browned, break it up and add to the mixing
bowl. Lay the bread in the pan, quickly flip it over to coat both sides
with fat, then brown it on both sides. Tear into large pieces and add
to the tomato mixture.
7. Pureeing the mixture. Stir the mixture thoroughly and scoop Вј
of it into a blender jar, along with ВЅ cup of the broth. Blend until
very smooth, adding a little more liquid if the mixture won’t move
through the blades. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve. Puree the
3 remaining batches, adding ВЅ cup broth to each one; strain.
8. Pureeing the chiles. Puree the drained chiles in 3 batches, adding
about ВЅ cup of broth (plus a little more if needed) to each one; strain
through the same sieve into a separate bowl.
9. Frying the turkey. Heat Вј cup of the lard or oil in a large (at least
310 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
8-quart) kettle over medium-high. Dry the turkey pieces with paper
towels and brown them in the lard in several batches, 3 or 4 minutes
per side. Remove to a roasting pan large enough to hold them comfortably. Set aside at room temperature until the sauce is ready.
10. Frying and simmering the sauce. Pour off the excess fat from the
kettle, leaving a light coating on the bottom. Return to the heat for
a minute, then add the chile puree and stir constantly until darkened
and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the other bowlful of puree and stir
several minutes longer, until the mixture thickens once again. Mix
in 5 cups of broth, partially cover, reduce the heat to medium-low
and simmer gently 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, season
with salt and sugar and, if the sauce is thicker than heavy cream,
thin it with a little broth.
11. Baking the turkey. Preheat the oven to 350В°. Pour the sauce over
the turkey, cover the pan and bake until the bird is tender, about 2
hours. Remove the turkey from the pan and spoon the fat off the
sauce (or, if serving later, refrigerate so the fat will congeal and be
easy to remove).
12. Presentation. Let the turkey cool, skin it and cut the meat from
the bones in large pieces, slicing against the grain; lay out the meat
in 2 or 3 large baking dishes.
Shortly before serving, pour the sauce over the turkey, cover and
heat in a 350В° oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Immediately before you carry the mole to your guests, spoon some
sauce from around the edges over the turkey to give it a glistening
coat, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 311
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Pureeing and Serving Nut-Thickened Sauces:.
Fat and Mole: In many Mexican sauces, the dollop of fat is thought to
be essential for good flavor. But as Paula Wolfert has so elegantly
pointed out in her Cooking of SouthWest France, the fat’s flavor is water
soluble: Let it cook with the “stew” to add its savor, then skim the
stuff off.
Balancing the Flavor of Mole: The flavors of mole begin to fuse during
cooking; a day later, maybe two, the fusion is complete and the flavor
is truly mole. For that reason, I add an initial measurement of salt and
sugar, then I fine-tune those seasonings just before serving. Each
underscores and balances a different face of this complex sauce.
Ingredients
Chiles: To prepare an authentic mole poblano, you must have the revered
triumvirate of mulato, ancho and pasilla; chipotle isn’t critical, though it
adds a dimension I like. Without the right chiles, it just won’t work.
If they’re lacking, try the Red Mole with One Chile variation.
Mexican Chocolate: In my opinion, the style of chocolate isn’t as critical
as the variety of chiles; the Mexican kind can be replaced in this recipe
with 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa.
Timing and Advance Preparation
From start to finish, mole poblano takes about 6 hours (if the broth is
on hand), about 3 hours of which are relatively unattended simmering
or baking. That approach, however, doesn’t allow the mole to develop
the best flavor (nor does it leave the cook in much of a mood for a
party). It is easiest to spread the preparations over 4 days. Day
1—assemble the ingredients and complete the toasting/frying in Steps
3 through 6. BUT DO NOT SOAK THE CHILES. Day 2—cut up the
turkey and make your broth. Day 3—soak the chiles and make the
sauce; brown and bake the turkey. Cool the turkey and sauce
separately, then cover and refrigerate. Day 4—skin and slice the turkey,
heat with the sauce and serve.
MENU SUGGESTIONS
Mexico’s twentieth-century gastro-historian Amando Farga describes
the solemn vision of Sor Andrea with her wooden platter of chocolated
sauce, forming a trinity with a bearer of tamales and one of pulque (the
312 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
ages-old fermented maguey juice). That was fine for Sor Andrea, but
the pulque is really impossible for us and I think tamales don’t work
well for sopping up the sauce. (Even though from one book to the next
they’ll tell you to serve mole with simple unfilled tamales, I’ve never
seen it served that way myself.) Regardless of its accompaniments,
mole poblano means fiesta, celebration: It should always be served as
a special attraction. It makes a very nice buffet dish, or, for a more
formal, traditional meal, start with Tortilla Soup, accompany your mole
with Pueblan Rice and hot tortillas, then end with a stunning Almond
Flan. I’d offer three drinks: a hearty dry red wine like Zinfandel, malty
Dos Equis beer and Sparkling Limeade.
Evolution of a Mole Lover
My recommendation, especially for meat-and-potato palates, is to start
with Pork Enchiladas with Orange-Red Mole, follow with Red Mole,
then proceed to the famous sauce…preferably at one of the little fondas
in Puebla’s La Victoria market, where the stuff gurgles away in
enormous, aromatic cazuelas.
Mexican wooden cooking spoons
RICH RED MOLE
WITH CHICKEN
Mole Rojo con Pollo
As famous as the Mexican moles are (and even though most are called
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 313
mole poblano), not all of them are the dark, deep, anise-scented sauce
from Puebla. No, the moles that spell out celebration in Guadalajara,
Morelia, Guanajuato and just about everywhere else are lighter and
a little more easy-going. Over the years, I’ve pulled together recipes
from Otomí Indians, Zapotecs, city dwellers, nuns and even pureblood Mexican Spaniards, and I’ve come up with this deliciously
compromising—almost addictive—mole…a mole that I think would
appeal to anyone who wasn’t weaned in Puebla.
Such a special dish needs to be featured in a traditional dinner
that runs from TlalpeГ±o Soup, made without chicken, through Mexican Rice and the mole, to Caramel Crepes.
YIELD:
4 servings, with 4ВЅ to 5 cups of sauce
The chiles:
4 medium (about 2 ounces total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
2 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles mulatos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
1 medium (about 1/3 ounce) dried chile pasilla, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
The nuts, seeds, flavorings and thickeners:
1ВЅ tablespoons sesame seeds, plus a little more for garnish
About 1/3 cup lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
2 heaping tablespoons (about 1 ounce) unskinned peanuts
2 tablespoons raisins
Вј medium onion, thickly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled
1
/3 ripe, small plantain, peeled and diced (optional)
ВЅ corn tortilla, stale or dried out
1 slice firm white bread, stale or dried out
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled,
and roughly chopped
OR ВЅ 15-ounce can tomatoes, well drained and roughly
chopped
4 ounces (about 3 medium) tomatillos, husked, washed and
simmered until tender
OR ВЅ 13-ounce can tomatillos, drained
314 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
The herbs and spices:
Вј of a 3.3 ounce tablet (about Вѕ ounce) Mexican chocolate,
chopped
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
Вј teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns (or about 1/8 teaspoon ground)
3 cloves (or a scant 1/8 teaspoon ground)
1 inch cinnamon stick (or about 1 teaspoon ground)
The meat:
1 medium (3ВЅ-pound) chicken, quartered
To finish the dish:
About 5 cups chicken broth
Salt, about 1 teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth)
Sugar, about 1 tablespoon
1. The setup. Following the same general procedure described in
Step 2, set up the ingredients, completing all initial preparations
detailed in the list of ingredients. Combine the tomato, tomatillos,
chocolate, oregano and thyme in a large bowl; pulverize the bay leaf
and spices, and add to the bowl.
2. Toasting the sesame seeds. Scoop the sesame seeds into a mediumsize skillet set over medium heat, and stir until they turn golden
brown. Scrape in with the tomato.
3. Frying and reconstituting the chiles. As directed in Step 4, fry the
chiles in 3 tablespoons lard or oil, then reconstitute in boiling water
and drain.
4. The frying continues. Return the skillet to the heat. (If there isn’t
much fat—or if you run low in the following frying steps—add a
little more, but drain everything well or the mole will be greasy.) As
directed in Steps 5 and 6, fry the almonds, raisins, onion, garlic,
tortilla and bread; if using plantain, fry it until golden (4 or 5
minutes) after the onion and garlic have been removed from the
skillet.
5. Pureeing the mixture. Stir the mixture well, then scoop half into
a blender jar, add ВЅ cup of the broth and blend until smooth, adding
a little more broth if the mixture won’t move through the blades.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 315
Strain through a medium-mesh sieve. Puree the remainder with
another ВЅ cup of broth and strain.
6. Pureeing the chiles. Puree the chiles in 2 batches in the blender,
adding Вј cup of broth to each one (plus a little extra if needed to
keep the mixture moving through the blades); strain through the
sieve into a separate bowl.
7. Browning the chicken. Heat 1ВЅ tablespoons of the lard or oil in a
large (8-quart) kettle over medium-high. Dry the chicken pieces,
then brown them in the hot fat, about 3 minutes per side. Remove
and set aside.
8. Frying and simmering the sauce. Following the directions in Step
10, fry and simmer the sauce, stirring in 2ВЅ cups of the broth (rather
than the 5 cups called for).
9. Simmering the chicken. Just before serving, bring the sauce to a
simmer over medium heat, add the dark-meat quarters and cook 10
minutes, partially covered. Add the breast pieces and cook about 14
minutes longer, until tender.
10. Presentation. Remove the meat from the sauce and arrange on
a warm, deep serving platter. Skim off any fat that is floating on top,
then pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle on some sesame seeds
and serve.
a sampling of regional cazuelas
316 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Notes on pureeing and serving nut-thickened sauces. For notes on the
role of fat in mole making and balancing the flavors of mole.
Ingredients
Chiles: If all 3 chiles aren’t available, prepare the one-chile mole
variation below.
Mexican Chocolate: If this chocolate is unavailable, substitute 1
tablespoon unsweetened cocoa.
Timing and Advance Preparation
This mole takes about 3ВЅ hours to prepare, of which 45 minutes are
unattended simmering. It may be finished up to 2 days ahead; store
the chicken and sauce separately, covered and refrigerated. Reheat
the chicken in the sauce, thinning if necessary.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Red Mole with One Chile: Prepare the mole as directed, using only
chiles anchos (8 medium—about 4 ounces), omitting the tomatoes and
using ВЅ tablet (about 1Вѕ ounces) chocolate.
Kitchen Spanish
The word mole, the Spanish transliteration of the Aztec counterpart
for sauce, is still generically used by some Mexican cooks to mean any
of the native, complex, cooked sauces. Still, mole…when it’s said with
that special pause and emphasis, means, the mole: the queen of sauces,
with its dark, dried chiles and all.
GREEN PUMPKINSEED
MOLE WITH
CHICKEN BREASTS
Mole Verde con Pechugas de Pollo
Practically everything red in the national mole is replaced by something green in mole verde: tomatoes with tomatillos, red chiles with
fresh green ones, spices with leafy herbs. But where dried chiles
make up the bulky thickness in the former, here pulverized pump-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 317
kinseeds give a nicely textured body and a definitively Mexican
flavor.
Because so many of us like to serve chicken breasts, I’ve used them
with this elegant pale-green sauce. Such a refined dish would be
beautiful with Pueblan Rice; start with Seviche or the traditional
Shrimp-Ball Soup with Roasted Pepper, and finish with Creamy
Fresh-Coconut Dessert. A spicy white wine like GewГјrztraminer
would be nice, but Sparkling Limeade would be more traditional.
YIELD:
4 servings, with about 3 cups of sauce
For the chicken and broth:
ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, diced
3 large (about 3Вѕ pounds total) chicken breasts, halved (and,
if you wish, half-boned
For the sauce:
1 scant cup (about 4 ounces) hulled, untoasted pumpkinseeds
(pepitas)
12 ounces (about 8 medium) tomatillos, husked and washed
OR 1ВЅ 13-ounce cans tomatillos, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 chiles serranos or 2
small chiles jalapeГ±os), stemmed and seeded
5 large romaine lettuce leaves
ВЅ medium onion, roughly chopped
3 small cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3 large sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)
1
/8 teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous 1/8 teaspoon ground)
6 black peppercorns (or a big pinch ground)
Вѕ inch cinnamon stick (or about Вѕ teaspoon ground)
2 cloves (or a pinch ground)
1ВЅ tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
For the garnish:
A few sprigs of fresh coriander (cilantro)
4 radish roses
1. Simmering the chicken. Bring 6 cups water and the salt to a boil
318 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
in a large saucepan with the diced onion. Add the chicken breasts,
skim off any grayish foam that rises during the first minute of simmering, partially cover and simmer over medium heat for about 12
minutes, until the breasts are barely done. If there is time, let the
chicken cool in the broth. Remove the chicken; strain the broth, then
spoon off all the fat that rises to the top.
2. The pumpkinseeds. Heat a medium-size skillet over medium-low
for several minutes, then pour in the pumpkinseeds in a single layer.
When the first one pops, stir them constantly for 4 to 5 minutes,
until all have toasted and popped. Cool completely. In batches,
pulverize the seeds in a spice grinder (or in a blender fitted with a
miniblend container). Sift through a medium-mesh sieve, then stir
in 1 cup of the broth.
3. The vegetables and spices. If you have fresh tomatillos, simmer
them with the whole chiles in salted water to cover until tender, 10
to 15 minutes; drain and place in a blender or food processor. Simply
drain canned tomatillos and place in the blender or food processor
with the raw chiles.
Tear the lettuce leaves into rough pieces and add to the tomatillos
along with the onion, garlic and fresh coriander. Pulverize the spices
in a mortar or spice grinder, add to the blender, then process until
smooth.
4. Frying and simmering the sauce. Heat the lard or oil in a large
saucepan over medium. When hot, add the pumpkinseed-broth
mixture and stir constantly as it thickens and darkens, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the vegetable puree and stir a few minutes longer, until very
thick.
Stir in 2 cups of the chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium-low
and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes. For a smooth
sauce, scrape into a blender jar, cover loosely and blend until smooth,
then return to the saucepan. Season with salt and, if necessary, thin
to a light consistency with a little broth.
5. Finishing the dish. Just before serving, add the chicken to the
simmering sauce. When heated through, remove the breasts to a
warm serving platter, spoon the sauce over them and decorate with
sprigs of coriander and radish roses.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 319
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Serving Nut-Thickened Sauces:. The fine chopping of a spice grinder
and blender is not the crushing/grinding of a metate, so modern
mole verde in Mexico is frequently coarse-textured. That can all be
remedied by a final smoothing of the cooked sauce in the blender.
(That’s my addition to mole verde making.)
Timing and Advance Preparation
Mole verde can be prepared in about 1ВЅ hours, half of which is devoted
to unattended simmering. It may be completed through Step 4 a day
ahead; store the sauce and chicken separately, covered and refrigerated.
If necessary, thin before completing Step 5.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Simple Chicken Breasts in Tomatillo Sauce: For a quick,
traditional-tasting main course, poach the chicken (Step 1), then
prepare 2ВЅ cups (1 recipe) Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce using the
chicken broth. Reheat the chicken in the sauce and serve garnished
with onion rings and fresh coriander.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Quick-Fried Calf’s Liver with Green Mole: Prepare the sauce with a
light poultry, veal or beef broth (Steps 2 through 4). Dredge 6 thin
calf’s liver steaks in seasoned flour, then quick-fry them in vegetable
oil over medium to medium-high heat, until rosy inside. Arrange on
warm plates, spoon on the warm sauce and garnish with crumbled,
toasted pumpkin-seeds and fresh coriander.
Regional Explorations
In Guerrero, where mole verde is a regional specialty, the local supply
of already powdered, unshelled pumpkinseeds is used to give the
sauce quite a distinct taste and texture. If given a choice, I go more for
the versions with shelled seeds and more herbs (such as fresh coriander
and the tasty romaine leaves)…like the one I’ve included here, based
on Mayo Antonio Sánchez’s recipe from Cocina mexicana.
I’ve been told numerous times (and I finally believe) that
mole verde and pipiГЎn verde are essentially the same: Both can
include a variety of nuts and seeds, tomatillos and herbs
and/or spices. It simply seems that cooks in Puebla call their
product pipiГЎn verde, while those in the rest of Central Mexico
320 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
and down toward Acapulco favor mole verde. And in Veracruz, they use the words mole verde to mean an herby tomatillo
sauce without seeds or nuts at all. Whatever it’s called and
however it’s prepared, the dish is enjoyed as a main course
at inexpensive comidas corridas, in sophisticated clubby dining
rooms and even in the market fondas.
Simple Red Mole with
Meat, Fowl And Fruit
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 321
SIMPLE RED MOLE WITH MEAT, FOWL AND
FRUIT
Manchamanteles de Cerdo y Pollo
The Oaxacans claim it as one of their seven moles, and the books list
it in chapters about Guadalajara. But the only place I’ve eaten it with
regularity is Mexico City. Wherever it comes from, it’s always very
popular with my guests: light, mild chile sauce seasoned with black
pepper, cloves and cinnamon, then simmered with fruit.
I’ve chosen this recipe, based on one from Tradiciones gastronómicas
oaxaqueГ±as, because it is simple and delicious and it makes a very
good buffet dish. If you’re not planning to set the dish out as the
main offering on a buffet, you could serve it with a salad, after appetizers of Deep-Fried Masa Turnovers (Quesadillas, and before
Mexican Rice Pudding or Flan.
YIELD:
4 servings
6 medium (about 3 ounces) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
Вј cup lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
ВЅ medium onion, chopped
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch squares
1 large (1Вј-pound), whole chicken breast, half-boned and
halved
2 cloves (or a pinch ground)
3 black peppercorns (or a big pinch ground)
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
2 slices firm white bread, broken up
1 teaspoon salt, plus a little more if necessary
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Вј small (about 1 cup) fresh pineapple, cored, peeled and cubed
1 ripe, medium plantain (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
Sugar, about 1ВЅ tablespoons
1. The chiles. Tear the chiles into flat pieces and toast them a few
at a time on a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, pressing
them down for a few seconds with a metal spatula, then flipping
322 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
and pressing again; when they send up their aroma and change
color, they’re ready. Cover with boiling water, weight with a plate
to keep them submerged, and soak 30 minutes.
2. Browning the vegetables with meat. Fry the onion with 2 tablespoons
of the lard or oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat until
soft, 6 or 7 minutes. Add the garlic and fry until the onion is quite
brown, some 4 minutes longer. Transfer the onions and garlic to a
blender jar, leaving as much fat as possible in the pan.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add more fat, if needed, to
coat the pan. Dry the pork on paper towels, then brown it in an uncrowded single layer, 2 to 3 minutes per face; remove, draining well.
Dry the chicken pieces, then brown them for 2 to 3 minutes per side,
add to the pork and set the skillet aside.
3. The sauce. Drain the chiles and add to the blender. Pulverize the
spices in a mortar or spice grinder and add to the chiles, along with
the bread and 1 cup water. Stir, blend to a smooth puree, then strain
through a medium-mesh sieve.
If necessary, add a little lard or oil to coat the skillet, then set over
medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the puree all at once and
fry, stirring constantly, for 4 or 5 minutes, until darkened and thick,
dislodging any bits that earlier may have stuck to the pan.
4. Finishing the dish. Scrape the chile mixture into a large saucepan,
stir in 2 cups water, the salt, vinegar and pork. Partially cover and
simmer over medium-low for 45 minutes to an hour, until the pork
is tender. Add the chicken and pineapple, cover and simmer 13
minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, heat a tablespoon of lard or oil in a
medium-small skillet over medium. Peel and cube the plantain, then
fry it until browned, 3 or 4 minutes and add to the manchamanteles.
Stir in the sugar, taste for salt and thin with a little water if the sauce
has thickened past a medium consistency; the flavor should be
slightly sweet and fruity. Remove from the heat immediately and
serve on warm, deep dinner plates.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 323
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Anchos: These sweet chiles are perfect for this dish, though
some cooks make the sauce more complex by replacing a couple of
anchos with pasillas and/or mulatos. Using 10 California chiles is an
option, but the flavor will be light.
Plantain: If a ripe plantain is unavailable, replace it with 2 cubed,
green bananas; skip the frying and add them several minutes before
removing the pot from the heat.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow about 1ВЅ hours to prepare the manchamanteles, plus an additional
hour for simmering. The dish may be prepared entirely in advance;
remove it from the fire immediately after adding the plantain. Cool it
quickly, cover and store up to 4 days in the refrigerator; it improves
with a little age. Reheat slowly, covered, on the stovetop or in a 350В°
oven; thin with a little broth if necessary.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
An Elaborate Manchamanteles for a Crowd: Prepare the recipe, using
a double quantity of meat and sauce ingredients and adding Вј cup each
skinned toasted peanuts and blanched toasted almonds to the chiles
before pureeing; along with the pineapple, add 1 large sweet potato,
1 apple and 1 pear (all peeled, cored, if appropriate, then cubed). For
a different dimension, add 1 cup (8 ounces) fried chorizo sausage with
the chicken. Serve garnished with pickled jalapeГ±os.
Kitchen Spanish
The name manchamanteles isn’t Aztec or Mayan: just a joined pair of
Spanish words that means “tablecloth stainer.”
FISH AND SHELLFISH
Pescados y Mariscos
Veracruz is the perfect seafood town. A good rendition of the classic
red snapper a la veracruzana is on the menu everywhere, and you’re
never far from a bowl of deliciously picante crab soup (chilpachole)
or seafood cocktails and salads, or the paella-like arroz a la tumbada,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 325
or those delicious Gulf shrimp in browned garlic or chipotle pepper
sauce.
And could there be a more perfect seafood market than the one
in Veracruz? The tiled fish stalls are heaped with the brightest red
snappers, large river prawns called langostinos, squirming crabs,
fresh shrimp and at least two dozen more piscine delicacies that
smell of nothing but fresh, saline seawater.
The whole market is alive with buyers and sellers all through the
morning hours. Do they stop to survey the design of the colorful
seaside produce, I always wonder, or the unique displays of the fat
chickens and hanging beef? Do they move so quickly past the steam
tables of taco fillings that they don’t catch the scent of smoky chipotle
peppers and aromatic herbs? Can they pass by my favorite seafoodcocktail bartenders and not want to watch them dash and dollop
the olive oil and spicy vinegar into the tomatoey concoctions of
oysters and shrimp?
By midafternoon, the beautiful assortment is nearly gone. Only
the vendors with the ice-packed carts outside the market door continue to hawk their mullet, pompano, sierra and other small pan
fish to those on their way home from work. As the sky darkens, the
fluorescent beams in the restaurants show the eateries to be as full
as they were earlier in the afternoon. Tables are crammed with expensive dishes no one would think of ordering were they not on
vacation: platters of boiled shrimp for peeling; pompano baked with
butter and herbs in a foil wrapper; whole baked snappers stuffed
with shrimp and slathered with mayonnaise.
The beaches of Veracruz aren’t especially memorable, nor is the
spot where CortГ©s landed much to see. But I could spend weeks in
the area, roaming all the eating places, before I’d get my fill of the
simple, fresh seafood.
When Deann and I started our most recent expedition through
Mexico—what turned into a six-month fifteen-thousand-mile
culinary circuit—we crossed the border at Tijuana, then took the
smooth, well-traveled highway toward Ensenada. It was my first
real taste of the northwest and its remarkably fertile waters. We
bought the hot-smoked bonito, yellowfin and bluefin tuna; we ate
the seaside tacos full of battered fish fingers. We moved down the
barren Baja peninsula, enjoying succulent, tender abalone under a
crust of browned crumbs. We stayed for days in La Paz, getting to
know the local stews, slow-roasts and steaks cut from sea turtle, and
326 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
the rich stuffed turtle fin. There was shredded ray machaca in every
little place, plus seafood cocktails, seviches and salads. On the streets,
carts were laden with the pata de mula clams (with their dark-red
meat) and the restaurants all served a delicious plate of quicksimmered or fried clams called catarinas (clams most everyone here
would have called scallops: sweet white morsels with a little roe attached). The little eating places were filled with customers who had
come to the sea to lie at its edges, play in its shallows, eat its yield;
they wanted the salads of the larger, whelklike caracol burro or
smaller caracol chino, and they ate the baked brown clams called
chocolatas.
I began to sense that the Mexican seashore—all six thousand miles
of it—offers those who live nearby a much more varied diet than is
possible in the rest of the country. It’s not that the cooks prepare all
their choices in a notably wide variety of ways; in most cases all the
stewing and saucing could do nothing but obscure the distinctive
freshness. Broiled, lime-cured (seviche), fried with garlic (al mojo de
ajo), simmered in chunky tomato-olive sauce (a la veracruzana) or
sprinkled with hot sauce—that’s all fresh seafood really needs.
We caught the ferry to the northwest mainland, to Topolobampo,
Sinaloa, and found shrimp-rich waters and local specialties like
shredded shrimp machaca for tacos and chiles rellenos, and fresh
shrimp-ball soup. As we continued south (and even as far inland as
Tepic, Nayarit) there was an increasing number of signs for pescado
zarandeado, slashed fish smeared with garlic and turned over the
coals. Down in Acapulco, everyone raves over the famous lime-cured
seviche made from the mackerel they call sierra. As the shore curves
east and becomes part of the state of Oaxaca, the markets are filled
with huge mounds of stiff dried fish to soak and stew with tomatoes.
They’re stacked high, beside baskets of dried shrimp destined for
simmering in a picante chile broth with potatoes and carrots (caldo
de camarГіn seco) or pulverize and make into cakes (tortitas de camarГіn)
and serve with cactus pieces in light-chile sauce.
The overland haul through dense, tropical YucatГЎn brought us to
the Caribbean waters, to the spiny lobsters and delicious, tender
octopus, oysters and fish in richly spiced, vinegary escabeche. Most
restaurant menus listed the full range of typical Mexican seafood,
then added achiote-seasoned postas (“fish steaks”), grilled for a dish
called in Mayan tikГ­n-xik or baked for nac cum.
Following the westward curve of the Gulf, we discovered the delicious pieces of roasted small shark (cazГіn) in the Campeche market;
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 327
we tasted the rich meat in a dish with tomato sauce (a la campechana)
and again in a sauced stacking of tortillas and black beans (pan de
cazГіn).
The Grijalva and Usumacinta rivers that cut up the thick verdancy
of Tabasco teem with a meaty, needle-nosed garlike fish called pejelagarto. It is sold smoked in the market in Villahermosa, and made
into salads and scrambled with eggs. The rivers are home to a variety
of small turtles that are featured in a regional green stew with exotic
herbs or a dish made with their blood. There is little that is tastier
than the large river prawns (called piguas) fried with garlic.
The Spanish heritage is felt all through the Gulf in popular dishes
like squid and octopus in their swarthy ink. Little fish-stuffed fried
turnovers are favorite snacks. Plentiful small blue crabs are stuffed
or served in soup. And in the oil-rich port town of Tampico, the
cooks make a subtly delicious red-chile sauce for fresh shrimp (camarones en escabeche rojo).
Mexicans who live inland seem much more atuned to fish and
shellfish than landlocked Americans; scarcely any good-size market
would be without a fish-frying eatery or seafood-cocktail vendor.
Michoacán, a state whose name means “land of fish” in Tarascan,
specializes in unimaginably delicate white fish from Lake PГЎtzcuaro
and vicinity. And the state’s frogs’ legs and tiny charales (like
whitebait) fill in when whitefish is too expensive. Nearly every region
has some fresh-water trout, carp, bass and catfish. But in the Central
states, they’re wrapped in cornhusks like tamales, just as they have
been for centuries, and baked on the griddle.
Like the rest of the nonaffluent world, Mexico has taken full advantage of its nutritive resources, especially those of the water. I’ve
included a sampling of Mexico’s tastiest seafood recipes in the following pages.
For seafood recipes from other chapters, see “Seafood” in the Index.
328 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Keys to Perfect Fish Cooking
Cutting meat away from dorsalfin and upper backbone
cutting tail meat away from backbone
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 329
cutting meat away from nib cage
Filleting and Skinning a Round Fish: This is the method used for all
fish except flat ones like flounder and halibut. Lay your gutted fish
crosswise in front of you, its dorsal fin (the one at the top of the back)
away from you. With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice across the
width of the body just behind the gill and small pectoral fin, cutting
down to the central backbone. With the knife held parallel to the
counter, cut along the dorsal fin, from your first crosscut to the end
of the tail; make certain your cut goes in all the way to the central
backbone. At the point where the visceral (innards) cavity ends,
slide your knife through to the other side of the fish, going over the
backbone (illustration 2). With the blade angled slightly downward,
cut all the way to the end of the tail; the tail portion of the fillet
should now be free. Gently fold back the fillet freed from along the
dorsal fin, then cut the meat free from the rib cage, which encloses
the visceral cavity (illustration 3). The fillet will now be free, and, if
the knife was always angled toward the bones, there will be little
meat left on this side of the carcass. Flip the fish over and remove
the fillet from the other side in the same manner.
330 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Skinning the fillet
Skinning Fish Fillets: Grasp the tail end of a fillet firmly, then make
a crosswise incision near where you’re holding, cutting down to but
not through the skin. Angling the knife away from you, slide and
slice it between the skin and flesh: Pull gently on the fish you’re
holding (it’s still connected to the skin you’re removing) while you
push gently on the knife, always angling it down toward the skin
(illustration 4).
Washing Fish with Lime: According to A. J. McClane’s Encyclopedia
of Fish Cookery, acids like vinegar and lime or lemon juice neutralize
the ammonia that can be a problem in certain fish, especially the
shark so popular in Mexico. Most traditional Mexican cooks recommend a short lime marinade before cooking any fish; marinating the
fish too long will “cook” it, however, as it does for seviche.
Determining Doneness: Preferences are changing: Today, most
people like their fish moist and just barely done. Rather than cook
the fish until it easily flakes and/or separates from the bone (it will
have lost considerable moisture by then), cook until it flakes under
gentle but firm pressure.
FISH FILLETS WITH
FRESH TOMATOES,
CAPERS AND OLIVES
Pescado a la Veracruzana
To most aficionados, the mention of Mexican seafood brings to mind
chunky, brothy tomato sauce with olives, herbs and chiles: pescado
a la veracruzana. It is both classic and nationally ubiquitous, which
means all cooks think they can and should make it—whether or not
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 331
they’ve visited Veracruz. It’s only in the seaside home, though, that
I’ve tasted the beautifully light, distinctively veracruzana sauce with
its special lilt of herbs and spices.
What follows is a recipe based on the version served at the Pescador restaurant in Veracruz. I’d offer it with the customary molded
White Rice, and, for an all-Gulf meal, I’d start with Spicy Crab Soup
and have Butter-Fried Plantains for dessert. Here’s the place some
might enjoy a fruity, dry white wine like a Chenin Blanc, or Sparkling
Limeade.
YIELD:
4 servings
For the fish:
1ВЅ pounds boneless, skinless meaty fish fillets like red
snapper or halibut, preferably in 4 pieces each ВЅ inch thick
Freshly squeezed lime juice and a little salt
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 pounds (4 medium-large) ripe tomatoes, roasted or boiled,
peeled and cored
OR three 15-ounce cans good-quality tomatoes, lightly drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
20 meaty green olives (preferably manzanillo), pitted and
roughly chopped
2 tablespoons large Spanish capers
2 medium pickled chiles jalapeГ±os, store-bought or homemade,
stemmed, seeded and sliced into strips
1 tablespoon pickling juices from the chiles
1ВЅ teaspoons mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus a few
sprigs for garnish
3 bay leaves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
Вј teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
1 cup light-flavored fish broth, bottled clam juice or water
Salt, if necessary
332 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1. The fish. Rinse the fillets, lay them in a noncorrosive dish and
sprinkle them with lime juice and salt. Cover and refrigerate about
1 hour.
2. The sauce. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium, add the
onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 7 or 8 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, cut the peeled fresh tomatoes in half
crosswise and squeeze out the seeds into a strainer set over a small
bowl. Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces and place in a mixing
bowl. Collect all the juices on the cutting board and add to the tomatoes, along with those strained from the seeds. Canned tomatoes
need only be lightly drained, then cut into 1-inch pieces, collecting
the juices as you go.
Add the garlic to the lightly browned onion and stir for a minute
or so, then add the tomatoes and their juice. Simmer for 5 minutes
to reduce some of the liquid.
Divide the olives and capers between two small bowls, and set
one aside to use as garnish. To the other bowl, add the jalapeГ±o strips,
pickling juice, mixed herbs and chopped parsley. If you don’t wish
to have the whole bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves or cracked pepper
in the finished sauce, wrap them in cheesecloth and tie with a string;
otherwise, add them directly to the bowl containing the herbs.
When the tomatoes are ready, add the mixture of pickled things,
herbs and spices, along with the fish broth (or clam juice or water).
Cover and simmer 10 minutes, then taste for salt (and remove the
cheesecloth-wrapped spices).
3. Finishing the dish. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the
fillets from the refrigerator and rinse them again. Either poach them
in the sauce on top of the stove or bake in the sauce, as follows:
The stove-top method: Nestle the fish fillets in the sauce so they are
well covered. Set the lid on the pan and place over a medium heat.
After 4 minutes, turn the fillets over, re-cover and cook 2 or 3 minutes
longer, until a fillet will flake under firm pressure.
The baking method: Preheat the oven to 350В°. Place the fillets in a
single layer in a lightly greased baking dish. Spoon the sauce over
them, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until
the fish just flakes when pressed firmly with a fork at the thickest
part.
Serve the poached or baked fillets on warm dinner plates with
lots of the sauce, garnished with a sprinkling of the reserved capers
and olives and a sprig of parsley.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 333
fish a la veracrugana
334 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Filleting and Skinning Fish, Washing It with Lime and Determining Doneness:.
Poaching vs. Baking: Some cooks find the oven’s indirect heat and
slower cooking more comfortable than stove-top poaching. If doubling
the recipe, use the baking method.
Ingredients
Fish: RГіbalo (snook) is more common in Mexico (and much less
expensive) than red snapper; its meat is firm and mild, like a grouper
(sea bass) or one of the cods. Practically any rather mild, nonoily fish
will work—striped bass, halibut, fluke, large rock cod, monkfish or
the like. Fine-textured fish don’t jibe with the sauce and tend to fall
apart.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If the broth is on hand, this superb dish takes an hour or less to prepare
(plus the hour for marinating the fish). The sauce may be made up to
3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, covered; warm it to room
temperature before completing Step 3.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Whole Fish a la Veracruzana: The dish is often made with two
1ВЅ-pound or four Вѕ pound whole or pan-dressed fish; choose
farm-raised trout, coho or catfish, whitefish, black bass, sea trout,
perch, snapper or the like. Make 2 diagonal slices on each side,
marinate them (Step 1), then use the baking method to finish the dish.
Cooking time will be a few minutes longer.
Tongue a la Veracruzana: Soak a medium-to-small (2ВЅ-pound) beef
tongue in salted water for several hours, then simmer in salted water
(with a little onion, garlic and herbs), skimming at first, for about 2ВЅ
hours, until tender. Strain and thoroughly degrease the broth. Strip off
the tongue’s skin. Pull out the bones from the butt end and slice off ¾
inch where they were; discard. Trim off the fatty section along the
bottom. Cut the trimmed tongue into Вј-inch slices and lay,
overlapping, in several rows in a baking dish. Prepare the sauce as
directed in Step 2, replacing fish broth with tongue broth. Pour over
the meat, cover and bake 20 minutes at 350В°, then garnish as directed.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 335
Charcoal-Grilled Veal Chops a la Veracruzana: Prepare the sauce
(Step 2), using veal or other meat broth, adding 1 large red bell or
poblano pepper (roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced), and replacing the
pickling juices with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Rub 4 thick veal
chops with ground black pepper, ground bay leaves, mixed herbs and
olive oil. Charcoal-grill over a medium-hot fire, then serve with the
warm sauce spooned on top.
Salmon “Seviche” a la Veracruzana: Slice 1 pound salmon into thin
fillets. Lay in a non-corrosive dish, cover with fresh lime juice (making
sure the juice penetrates every layer), cover and refrigerate several
hours or overnight, until the fish turns opaque. Prepare the sauce (Step
2); cool. Drain the salmon, then mix with the sauce. Serve cold with a
sprinkling of capers, olives and parsley.
Regional Explorations
The Spaniards have migrated to Mexico in numerous waves through
the centuries, the last major one, I’m told, having transpired during
the homeland’s civil war of the thirties. Many settled into farming and
cattle raising in Veracruz, and it’s my guess that this dish has really
come into its own under their tutelage. It’s a typical Mediterranean
composite of those originally New World tomatoes and typically Old
World condiments…including capers, which are listed in every
veracruzana recipe but are rarely put in the dish (and rarely found in
Veracruz groceries).
QUICK-FRIED FISH
WITH TOASTED GARLIC
Pescado al Mojo de Ajo
“No!” I can hear them say. “You’ll ruin the dish! You can’t let garlic
brown.” I’ve heard it for years; I may have said it myself at one point,
until I learned that slowly browned chunks of garlic, taken off before
they get dark and bitter, have a superbly nutty flavor and a special
sweetness.
Along with breaded, fried and a la veracruzana, al mojo de ajo is a
standard preparation anywhere in the Republic that they cook fish.
Luckily, it is delicious and very easy to do at home. The following
method, based on one in Dueñas’s Cocina básica: pescados, is one I
336 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
especially like because the fish is quick-fried in garlic-flavored oil
and butter, then a little lime juice is added to give it sparkle.
This dish welcomes a flavorful vegetable like Swiss Chard with
Tomatoes and Potatoes. To dress up the meal, start with Fresh-Corn
Tamales or a soup and end with Flan or Spicy Poached Guavas. Beer
and Sparkling Limeade go well with these flavors.
YIELD:
4 servings
Four 10- to 12-ounce fish like bass, catfish or perch, whole or
pan-dressed
Freshly squeezed lime juice and a little salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
About ВЅ cup flour
A scant teaspoon salt, plus a little more to season the pan sauce,
if necessary
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus a few sprigs for
garnish
1. The fish. Rinse the fish. With a sharp knife, make 2 diagonal
slashes on both sides of each one. Sprinkle them lightly, inside and
out, with the lime juice and salt, lay in a noncorrosive dish, cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour.
2. The garlic. Heat the butter and oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over
medium-low, add the garlic and very slowly cook, stirring frequently,
until the garlic has turned golden, 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape into a small
strainer set over a bowl and let the fat drain through, then return it
to the pan and set the garlic aside.
3. Frying the fish. Spread the flour on a plate and mix in the salt.
Rinse the fish, then pat dry with paper towels. Return the skillet to
medium heat and, when hot, dredge the fish in the flour, shake off
the excess and lay in the pan. Fry until golden and done, 4 to 5
minutes on each side. (Make a small, deep cut down to the backbone
of one fish to determine if it is cooked through.) Remove the fish to
a large serving platter and keep warm in a low oven.
4. Finishing the dish. With the skillet off the fire, add the reserved
garlic, lime juice and chopped parsley. Return the pan to medium
heat and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until the lime juice has
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 337
mostly evaporated and the parsley has wilted. Taste for salt. Spoon
the sauce over the fish and serve, decorated with parsley.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Washing Fish with Lime and Determining Doneness: All these
techniques are discussed.
Slashing Fish: This is done when frying and charcoal-grilling whole
fish to allow the heat to penetrate evenly.
Browning the Garlic: If the garlic darkens past golden, it will be bitter.
The more oil and butter in the pan and the slower it cooks, the sweeter
the garlic will be.
Ingredients
The Fish: Any small fish works nicely: pompano or snapper if available,
farm-raised catfish, trout or coho, little bass (black or otherwise),
pickerel, whitefish, rock cod, sea trout…
Timing and Advance Preparation
From scratch, this dish only requires ВЅ hour, plus an hour for
marinating the fish.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fish Fillets with Toasted Garlic: Replace the whole fish with four 6to 8-ounce fillets, each ВЅ inch thick. Prepare as directed, omitting the
slashing, and cooking the fillets for only about 3 minutes per side.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Shrimp with Toasted Garlic and Avocado: Prepare the recipe using
2 pounds shrimp (peeled and deveined) in place of fish, and olive oil
in place of butter; fry the shrimp (there is no need for dredging in
flour) in two batches. This makes a great appetizer for 8 people, served
warm or cool, surrounding a bowl of Chunky Guacamole for dipping.
Or, marinate 2 pounds large prawns (peeled and deveined) overnight
in the oil-garlic mixture from Step 2, charcoal-grill them over low coals,
then serve them with this avocado mayonnaise: Peel and pit 1 avocado,
place in a blender with 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, 1 egg, ВЅ cup chopped
parsley, ВЅ cup beer and ВЅ small onion (roughly chopped); blend until
smooth, then slowly add 1ВЅ cups olive oil while the machine is running;
season with salt.
338 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
QUICK-FRIED FISH
WITH ROASTED PEPPERS
AND THICK CREAM
Pescado con Rajas y Crema
This is not a regional specialty but a family one, and I’m sold on the
way a fresh, good-textured piece of fish combines with roasted
peppers and thick, half-soured cream. My inspiration for this elegant,
versatile dish comes from the occasional recipes for this sort of thing
you find in cookbooks from Mexico; once or twice, I’ve tasted
something similar in fancier restaurants.
Serve it with a Cress and JГ­cama Salad for a special dinner, with
some tasty filled Masa Boats (Sopes, or a bowl of TlalpeГ±o Soup to
start, and a fresh fruit ice for dessert. The fish is good with a fullbodied white wine like a Chardonnay.
YIELD:
4 servings
1ВЅ pounds boneless, skinless fish fillets like halibut or bass,
about ВЅ inch thick
Freshly squeezed lime juice and a little salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
ВЅ medium onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large fresh chile poblano, roasted and peeled, seeded and
sliced into thin strips
1Вј cups Thick Cream or whipping cream
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon each for the sauce and for the dredging
flour
About 1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Thinly sliced tops of green onions, for garnish
1. The fish. Rinse the fillets, place in a noncorrosive dish and
sprinkle the lime juice and a little salt; cover and refrigerate about
an hour.
2. The roasted-pepper cream. Heat half the vegetable oil in a mediumsize saucepan over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 7 or 8 minutes. Add the garlic and
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 339
chile and cook 2 minutes longer, then stir in the cream and simmer
until the sauce coats a spoon rather thickly. Season with salt.
3. Finishing the dish. About 10 minutes before serving, spread the
flour on a plate and mix in a little salt. Dry the fillets with paper
towels. Heat the butter and remaining tablespoon of oil in a mediumlarge skillet over medium-high. When the butter just begins to brown,
quickly dredge the fillets in the flour, shake off the excess and lay
in the hot pan. Fry until lightly browned, about 1ВЅ minutes per side,
then add the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2 or
3 minutes more, until the fillets flake under firm pressure. Remove
the fillets to a warm serving platter, spoon the sauce over them,
garnish with the green-onion slivers and serve.
fresh poblano chiles
340 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Filleting and Skinning Fish, Washing It with Lime and Determining Doneness:.
Ingredients
Fish: The flavors of this sauce won’t overwhelm a good piece of fish
like red snapper, salmon, halibut or striped bass. Shark done this way
makes a deliciously rich dish.
Chile Poblano: Rather than replace an unavailable poblano with the
blander long green chiles, I’d change the dish a bit and use a serrano
(seeded and chopped) plus a red bell pepper (roasted, peeled, seeded
and sliced).
Cream: The ripeness of thick cream adds real depth here, so use it if
at all possible. Sour cream will curdle if heated here.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Once the fish is marinated, this dish can be ready in 30 minutes. If
you’re planning ahead, make the thick cream, roast the chile and, if
you wish, complete Step 2. Finish Step 3 just before serving.
OTHER CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Chicken with Rajas and Cream: Prepare the sauce as directed in Step
2. Dredge 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced in ВЅ-inch
strips) in the seasoned flour, fry in the butter and oil over medium-high
heat for about 5 minutes, then complete as directed.
Fish with Cream, Epazote and Fresh Cheese: Prepare the recipe as
directed, adding 2 tablespoons finely chopped epazote to the cream as
it is simmering. Along with the green onions, sprinkle ВЅ cup crumbled
goat cheese or Mexican queso fresco over the fillets just before serving.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 341
Chile-Bathed Fish Grilled in Cornhusks
CHILE-BATHED FISH
GRILLED IN CORNHUSKS
Pescado Adobado en Hojas de MaГ­z
I’ve seen them in the frenetic Friday Toluca market every time I’ve
342 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
been there: pieces of catfish, carp or little, minnowlike charales, bathed
with a sharp red-chile sauce, packed into several layers of husk, and
turned on a griddle until charred. The picante flavors of the fish and
the smoky overtones from the blackened husks are delicious.
For the recipe that follows, I’ve taken this humble fish snack (found
predominantly in Central Mexico and MichoacГЎn) and turned it into
a dish to serve at the table. It is quite an attractive presentation and
a delicious blend of uncommon flavors. I call for the traditional taco
garnishes—fresh coriander (cilantro) and onion—because I serve the
dish with hot corn tortillas and encourage each person to make tacos
with the tasty strips of fish. Accompany it with Pueblan Rice and
set out a big Mixed Vegetable Salad to start, if you want. Pecan Pie
with Raw Sugar is good for dessert; beer, Mexican Sangria or
Sparkling Limeade are my choices for beverage.
YIELD: 6 servings for a light meal with substantial accompaniments
ВЅ 8-ounce package cornhusks
1ВЅ pounds boneless, skinless meaty fish fillets like cod or
catfish
2
/3 cup (2/3 recipe) Red-Chile Marinade (Adobo
Salt as desired
Вѕ cup medium to finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), plus
6 sprigs for garnish
2 large limes, quartered
1. Soaking the husks and marinating the fish. Put the cornhusks to
soak in boiling water as directed. Cut the fish into 3-inch sticks that
are ВЅ inch wide. Place in a noncorrosive bowl, measure in 6 tablespoons of the adobo paste and mix gently but thoroughly. Cover and
refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2. The fish-filled cornhusk packages. Choose the 18 largest cornhusks:
They should be 6 inches across on their widest end; if any fall short,
two may be laid together, overlapping at least 2 inches. From the
extra cornhusks, tear off twenty-four Вј-inch-wide strips and tie them
together in pairs, making 12 long ones. Divide the fish into 6 equal
portions.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 343
To form the packages, spread 1 teaspoon of adobo paste over a 2
Г— 3-inch area on the wide end of a husk. Lay half of one portion of
fish in a single layer over the adobo-covered part of the husk. Lightly
sprinkle with salt and top with the remaining half-portion of fish.
Lightly salt again, then spread with a teaspoon of adobo paste. Bring
the uncovered sides of the husk up around the fish, tucking one
under the other. Fold the unfilled, narrow end of the husk up over
the filled portion, then flip the package over onto the wide end of
another husk (open-end toward the center). Wrap the long sides of
the new husk up around the package, overlapping them. Fold the
narrow, unfilled portion of the husk up over the filled part, then flip
the package over onto the wide end of yet another husk and wrap
the package again. Lay the finished package flap-side down and tie
it twice around its width with 2 of the cornhusk strips. Form the rest
of the fish-filled packages in the same manner.
marinate fish laid in cornhusk
344 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
filled, folded cornhusk positioned in second hulk
Tying triple-wrapped fish
3. Cooking the packages. About 20 minutes before serving, heat a
large griddle over medium-high or turn on your broiler and position
the rack 4 inches below the heat.
For griddle cooking: Lay the packages on the griddle. Cook 6 or 7
minutes on each side, plus an additional minute on each long edge.
For broiler cooking: Lay the packages on a baking sheet and slide
them under the broiler. Flip after about 7 minutes (the cornhusks
should have blackened), then cook 5 or 6 minutes longer.
Open one package and test for doneness (being careful to contain
the juices).
4. Presenting the dish. Remove the strings from each package, then
carefully pull away the two outer layers of husk, being careful not
to lose any of the juices. Set each package on a warm plate, open up
the remaining husk and gently push the fish into the center. Mix
together the chopped onion and fresh coriander; sprinkle 2 tablespoons over each portion. Top each one with a sprig of coriander
and lay a couple of lime wedges to the side. Serve immediately.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 345
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Filleting and Skinning Fish, and Determining Doneness: for the details.
Wrapping and Cooking the Strips of Fish: Strips are used to duplicate
the smeltlike charales and to allow the chile to penetrate the fish. The
triple wrapping is quickly mastered; simply try to keep the package
tight, since any tiny openings will let the flavorful juices leak out.
Ingredients
Cornhusks:.
Fish: Practically any nonoily fish tastes good here, though I’d choose
a moderate-to-inexpensive one with a firm texture and large flake,
like grouper/sea bass, cod, catfish, tilefish or monkfish. The carp and
other strong fish that are used for this recipe in Mexico may be too
aggressive for some palates.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparation time is roughly an hour (if the adobo is on hand), plus 2
hours for marinating the fish and soaking the husks. The fish may
marinate for up to 24 hours, or the packages may be put together the
evening before. The fish is best cooked just before serving; if slightly
undercooked, it will hold in a very low oven for 15 or 20 minutes.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Shrimp Adobados: Peel 1 pound medium-to-large shrimp, leaving the
last shell segments and tails in place; devein them. Mix the shrimp
with 1/3 cup adobo paste, cover and refrigerate for several hours. Just
before serving, stir in ВЅ teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil.
Place in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Slide under a preheated
broiler for a couple of minutes, turn the shrimp and broil several
minutes longer.
346 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
fresh coriander (cilantro)
OYSTERS POACHED WITH
MILD VINEGAR AND AROMATIC
SPICES, TABASCO-STYLE
Ostiones en Escabeche
In Tabasco, the silky fresh-shucked oysters are frequently seasoned
with a packet of coarse-ground escabeche spices (including the locally
grown allspice) and poached in sweet banana vinegar. Even with
the obvious hurdles, it’s an easy dish to do well in the United States.
The following recipe is based on the version served at the Mariposa
restaurant in Villahermosa (though I have reduced the vinegar a
little—ours is stronger—and used fish broth rather than water; also,
I sprinkle mine with fresh coriander (cilantro) to add a special lift).
Served cool with crusty bread, it makes a nice first course, though
in Tabasco I’ve only had it warm. You can dress up the dinner with
a starter of Deep-Fried Masa Turnovers (Quesadillas, then end with
rich Mexican Rice Pudding.
about 5 cups, serving 4 as a light main dish, 4 to 6 as an appetizer
YIELD:
1
/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 347
6 cloves
Вј teaspoon allspice berries
Вј teaspoon black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 scant teaspoon dried oregano
Вѕ inch cinnamon stick
1
/3 cup vegetable or olive oil (or a mixture of the two)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 small carrots, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 long (4-inch) fresh chiles gГјeros or banana peppers, roasted
and peeled, seeded and cut into ВЅ-inch dice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar, plus a little more if necessary
1 generous cup mild fish broth, clam juice or water
1ВЅ pounds shucked oysters, undrained (about 36
medium-to-small with a generous cup liquid)
Salt, about Вѕ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
oysters)
About 3 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), for
garnish
1. The spices and herbs. Measure the cumin, cloves, allspice and
black pepper into a mortar or spice grinder and crush or process
until cracked but not pulverized. Transfer to a small dish and measure
in the bay leaves, oregano and cinnamon.
2. The vegetables and flavorings. Heat the oil in a large (12-inch)
skillet over medium, add the onions and carrots and stir occasionally
until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and chile
and cook 2 minutes longer. Add the vinegar, broth (or clam juice or
water) and spices to the skillet, cover and simmer over medium-low
heat for 10 minutes. If there’s time, let stand off the fire (in a noncorrosive container) for several hours; the flavors will greatly improve.
3. Finishing the dish. Just before serving, add the oysters and their
liquid to the vegetables, bring to a very gentle simmer over mediumlow heat, and cook until the oysters are just firm, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat, season with salt (and more vinegar, if necessary); take out the bay leaves and cinnamon, if you wish. Serve in
deep plates, sprinkled with the fresh coriander.
348 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Earthenware pot and cups for cafГ© de olla
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 349
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Cooking Oysters: While the most judicious cooking of the oysters
might be none at all, a very gentle heat and a short tour over the fire is
a good alternative. They are ready when they turn white and their
edges curl.
Ingredients
Chiles GГјeros: These yellow-skinned chiles (often called chiles picosos
in Tabasco) are similar to medium-hot banana or Hungarian wax
peppers; I’ve also used 4 long green chiles as a substitute.
Oysters: Make sure already-shucked oysters are very fresh. If you
shuck your own, plan on 26 to 36.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With the broth made, this simple dish takes 30 to 40 minutes. If
possible, complete Steps 1 and 2 several hours (or days) in advance,
cover and refrigerate. Or prepare the entire dish in advance and serve
it at a cool room temperature.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fish Fillets in Escabeche: Complete Steps 1 and 2, decreasing the oil
to 2 tablespoons. Dredge 1ВЅ pounds boneless, skinless fish fillets in
seasoned flour, then brown in a little olive oil over medium-high heat.
When the fish is nearly done, add the vegetable-broth mixture and
simmer for a few minutes. Lift out the fillets, lay on deep plates and
serve with the vegetables and broth spooned over them. Or let cool
in the broth, cover and marinate overnight, refrigerated; serve at room
temperature. Mackerel is frequently used for this dish, but my
preference is red snapper, striped bass, halibut and the like.
Regional Explorations
In Tabasco, the air hangs like a soft moist blanket. The land flows
around the Gulf: damp, low ground covered with jungle and chocolate
trees and banana plantations. It is the home of Mexico’s first known
civilization, the Olmecs, and a number of unusual regional specialties:
venison steaks, smoked pejelagarto fish, turtle in an herby
masa-thickened sauce, armadillo in adobo, the braised capybaralike
tepescuintle, and oysters in escabeche. Similar escabeches are made with
octopus, whelk and squid all through the Yucatan; also, oysters in
350 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
escabeche is a regional specialty of Guaymas, Sonora, a coastal town
some two thousand miles diagonally across the country.
POULTRY
Aves
Poultry is without any doubt the most frequently chosen meat in
Mexico—usually a good-size chicken with enough texture to remind
you that it has toured the yard, and more than enough flavor to
stand up to the mole or tomatillo sauce. That creature, however, wasn’t
the original Mexican fowl: Before they’d seen a chicken, the Aztecs
had domesticated turkeys and Muscovy ducks and they were
hunting a great variety of wild feathered creatures. One source tells
352 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
us that a market outside the center of the old Aztec capital went
through eight thousand birds every five days. The emperor was
offered all kinds of fowl at his legendary meals; turkeys were even
fed to the animals at the royal zoo.
Turkeys weren’t the big-breasted, self-basting ones we think of
today. No, they were a smaller, native variety closely related to our
wild turkeys, and they are still the most commonly raised breed in
Mexico. In YucatГЎn, the hunters took another species, the colorful
oscillating turkey (pavo del monte); it is occasionally still offered in
restaurants in the peninsula, but has yet to be domesticated.
Chicken came with the Spaniards and, from all indications, caught
on immediately. Today (with the exception of the stray turkey or
duck), it is the fowl of the Mexican market—fresh-killed and plucked,
head and feet intact for the buyer to inspect (and use in the broth),
spread out immodestly or hung up with a certain air of finality. They
are nearly always fresh and flavorful.
Mexican chickens are generally simmered, steamed or braised
until tender, simply because many are too tough for dry-heat roasting
or frying. The whole boiled birds sit out in market fondas with the
visibility of planned ornamentation, sometimes decorated with
radish roses and spears of romaine, sometimes indiscreetly plunked
down. As the hours pass, they lose their members, the joints going
into the mole, pipianes, tomato or tomatillo sauce, or the meat shredded
to fill or adorn the simple fare.
The turkey is the traditional bird for the celebratory mole poblano
(though restaurants usually serve the mole with chicken). In Yucatan,
the turkey is the focus of the baroque pavo en relleno blanco (with its
pork stuffing, caper-and-olive-studded white sauce and chunky tomato sauce) as well as the pavo en relleno negro or chirmole (a sort of
“blackened” version of the more comfortable first dish). You can
make the aromatic Yucatecan escabeche with turkey, though most
commonly it’s spice-coated chicken that you find in the flavorful
broth with pickled red onions. And chicken gets flavored with the
Yucatecan achiote seasoning paste, wrapped in banana leaves and
steamed (or baked in a pit) for the justifiably famous pollo pibil.
In restaurants, cafeterГ­as and market eateries, chicken is offered
fried or stewed in local sauces. In West-Central Mexico, most notably
Morelia, the poached fowl is dipped in red-chile sauce before it’s
slipped into the hot oil, for the delicious pollo a la plaza. And the one
spot I know of where chickens are never precooked is Sinaloa, where
the slow-roasted pollo a las brasas is done over smoky coals. It is a
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 353
simple specialty at its best in the outdoor grilling setups that dot the
byways.
Wild-fowl specialties are not common public food in Mexico.
Ducks, though usually not wild ones, are put on the tables of nicer
restaurants in the large cities, along with an occasional quail. But in
Guerrero, around Taxco, Iguala and Chilpancingo, roadside eating
places have become famous for squab (pichГіn), iguana and rabbit,
either with a dressing of garlic (al mojo de ajo) or in a light chile sauce
called chileajo.
The recipes I’ve pulled together in this chapter take advantage of
the varied approaches to Mexican poultry preparations; when you
add in the moles made with chicken, the possibilities are broad indeed. As you’ll discover while perusing the recipes, I’ve employed
the traditional sauces with different birds in various stages of jointing
and boning, to make them the most attractive and easiest to eat at
the table.
For poultry recipes from other chapters, see “Poultry” in the Index.
Keys to Essential Poultry Preparations
Quartering a Chicken and Half-Boning the Breast: Bend back a legthigh portion, breaking the joint loose, then use a thin-bladed knife
to cut it free, first cutting around the nugget of meat on the backbone
just above the joint, then cutting through the joint and down the
backbone to the tail; cut free the other leg-thigh portion in the same
manner. With a large knife or poultry shears, cut along both sides
of the backbone, through the ribs and collar bone, to the neck
opening; remove the backbone and reserve for broth. Open out the
breast, cavity-side down, then press firmly (or pound gently) on the
center to loosen the breastbone (the breast should now lie flat); flip
the breast over and pull out the large, dark-red breastbone and the
white piece of cartilage that trails off from it. Cut down through the
middle of the half-boned breast (you’ll cut through the wishbone at
the top) to separate into halves.
Boning Chicken Thighs: Lay a thigh skin-side down and slice
through the flesh in a line from one joint to the other (down to the
bone that connects them). Use the point of your knife to cut around
and free the bone and joint cartilage at one end, then, grasping the
freed end, cut and scrape the flesh from the bone all the way to the
other end. Cut the flesh away from the joint and cartilage.
354 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
DUCK IN SMOOTH
PUMPKINSEED SAUCE
Pato en PipiГЎn Rojo
The sauce is wonderfully savory—nutty-tasting and colored with
sweet red chile. It is beautifully served with duck at the small,
European-style Fonda el Pato off Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico
City, though I’ve never considered their version of the sauce quite
as distinctive as the one made by market cooks in Puebla. So I’ve
combined the delicious market sauce with the dressier duck of
Mexico City. It looks elegant set on a plate beside a molded serving
of Pueblan Rice. For an all-Pueblan dinner, you could start with
Tortilla Soup and serve a Creamy Fresh-Coconut Dessert. To drink,
choose Mexican Sangria, Jamaica “Flower” Cooler or even a soft,
fruity red wine like Merlot or Beaujolais.
YIELD:
4 large servings, with about 3 cups of sauce
For the duck and broth:
2 medium ducks (5 pounds each), preferably fresh
ВЅ medium onion, diced
A generous ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (like marjoram and thyme)
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the sauce:
2 medium (about 1 ounce total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
ВЅ medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1
/3 cup (abut 1ВЅ ounces) hulled, untoasted pumpkinseeds
(pepitas), plus a few extra for garnish
A scant Вј teaspoon black peppercorns (or about 1/3 teaspoon
ground)
1
/3 teaspoon allspice berries (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 355
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
4 cloves (or about 1/8 teaspoon ground)
Вј teaspoon dried thyme
1 slice firm white bread, crusts removed and diced
1
/3 cup (about 1ВЅ ounces) skinned and roasted peanuts
1 canned chile chipotle, seeded and roughly chopped
Sugar, about 1 teaspoon
Salt, about Вј teaspoon
For the garnish:
1 slice of onion, broken into rings
1. Duck preliminaries. Use a large knife or kitchen shears to split
each duck: Cut through the ribs down both sides of the backbone
(set the backbone aside to use in preparing the broth); open the duck
out, cavity-side down, press down firmly on the breastbone to loosen
it, then split the duck down the breastbone. Split the second duck
in the same fashion. Finally, prick the skin sides of each half with a
fork at 1-inch intervals, pushing the tines in only about 1/8 inch.
2. Preparing the broth. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the
duck backs, necks, gizzards and hearts (but not the livers), plus 5
cups water, the onion and salt. Bring to a simmer, skim off any
grayish foam that rises during the first few minutes of simmering,
add the herbs and bay leaves, partially cover and simmer over medium-low for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 or 3. Strain through a finemesh sieve, then skim off all the fat that rises to the top.
3. Frying the duck. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a large (12-inch)
skillet over medium. Dry 2 duck halves with paper towels, lay skinside down in the hot oil, and fry for about 15 minutes without
turning, until the duck skin is well browned; drain on paper towels.
Pour off all but a thin coat of fat and fry the remaining duck halves
in the same manner.
4. Sauce preliminaries. Tear the chiles into large flat pieces. Heat 2
tablespoons of the lard or oil in a medium-size skillet over medium.
When hot, quick-fry the chiles to toast them lightly, a few seconds
on each side. Transfer to a small bowl, draining off as much oil as
possible, cover with boiling water, weight down with a small plate,
and soak about 30 minutes.
Cook the onion and garlic in the same skillet over medium heat
until they have browned nicely, about 10 minutes. Remove them
from the pan, draining well, and place in a large bowl.
356 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Heat another medium-size skillet over medium-low for several
minutes. Add the pumpkinseeds; when the first one pops, stir them
constantly for 4 to 5 minutes, until all have toasted and popped.
Crumble a few and reserve for garnish, then scoop the rest into the
bowl with the onions.
Grind the spices in a mortar or spice grinder and add to the bowl,
along with the thyme, bread, peanuts, chipotle and 1ВЅ cups of the
duck broth. Drain the chiles and add to the bowl.
5. Pureeing, frying and simmering the sauce. Scoop half of the mixture
into a blender jar and blend to a smooth puree, adding a little more
broth if the mixture won’t move through the blades; strain through
a medium-mesh sieve. Puree and strain the other half.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of lard or oil in a large saucepan
over medium-high. When quite hot, add the puree and stir constantly
for about 5 minutes, as it concentrates and darkens. Stir in 2 cups of
the broth, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 45
minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce is ready, adjust the
consistency, if necessary, by adding enough broth to make it the
consistency of heavy cream. Season with sugar and salt.
6. Baking the duck. About 45 minutes before serving, preheat the
oven to 350В°. Lay the duck halves, skin-side up, in a large roasting
pan. Pour the hot sauce over them, cover and bake for 25 to 30
minutes, until the duck is done (tender when pricked with a fork).
7. Garnishing and presentation. Remove the duck halves to a warm
serving platter or individual plates. Tip the sauce to one end of the
pan and spoon off the fat that has accumulated on top. Ladle the
sauce over the ducks, garnish with the onion rings and crumbled
pumpkinseeds and serve immediately.
Dried ancho chiles
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 357
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Half-Boning Duck: Many cooks like to partially bone the duck halves
to make them easier to eat. Use a thin, pointed knife to free the rib
cage on the underside of each half, pull off any of the breastbone that
is still attached, and cut off the collarbone up near the neck. Your goal
is to remove all the bones in the breast half that are near or at the
surface of the underside, leaving only the wing bone. Bone the thighs
as you would chicken thighs.
Pricking and Frying the Duck: To help rid the duck skin of fat, it is
pricked (allowing rendering fat to flow out), then fried on the skin-side
only. If you still find the skin objectionable, remove it before saucing
and baking.
Pureeing and Serving Nut-Thickened Sauces:.
Ingredients
Chiles Anchos: Because the sauce has only a small proportion of dried
chiles, 3 or 4 New Mexico or California chiles could substitute for
anchos.
Chiles Chipotles: Frequently, Mexican cooks omit this smoky-tasting
fillip.
Timing and Advance Preparation
From scratch, allow 4 hours to prepare the dish, half of which won’t
require your active involvement. Steps 1 through 5 can be completed
a day in advance; refrigerate the duck and sauce separately, covered.
Bring the duck to room temperature, reheat the sauce, thin it (if
necessary), then complete Steps 6 and 7.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Charcoal-Grilled Duck in Cashew Pipian with Crispy Bacon: Slowly
fry 4 slices bacon until crisp, reserve the fat and coarsely crumble the
bacon. Prepare the duck and broth (Steps 1 through 3); make the sauce
(Steps 4 and 5), substituting cashews for the peanuts and doing all the
frying in the rendered bacon fat. Prepare a medium-low charcoal fire
and grill the duck for 20 to 25 minutes, turning frequently; keep a
spray bottle on hand to squelch any flare-ups. Ladle the sauce over
the grilled duck and garnish with cashews and the crumbled bacon.
Regional Explorations
358 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
PepiГЎn (as Jaliscans call it) is a popular West-Central dish, served every
day at the Libertad market in Guadalajara. I’ve read recipes for a rustic
Northern version made from toasted corn, seeds, chiles and flavorings,
but I haven’t found it in the public domain. In Tamiahua, Veracruz,
and in Tampico, a coarse, simple green pipiГЎn is made from
pumpkinseeds and little else; I’ve had it straight on enchiladas and
mixed with cream for fish. Down in Puebla, pipiГЎn comes in a pair: red
with dried chile or green with tomatillo, green chiles and herbs; the
latter is, for all intents and purposes, the Pueblan equivalent of the
mole verde made in other parts of the country. With pumpkinseeds
figuring into so many regional dishes in Yucatán, it’s not surprising
that they have a pipián, too; it’s made with tomato, epazote and a host
of spices, then thickened with masa.
Kitchen Spanish and History
When you taste a bite of pipián, it is a bit of Mexico’s oldest tradition,
for pipiГЎn was among the earliest-recorded preparations. The Friar
Sahagun (1550s): “Here are told the foods that the lords ate…. Turkey
with red chiles;…sauces of ordinary tomatoes and small tomatoes and
yellow chili, or of tomatoes and green chili;…grey fish with red chile,
tomatoes and ground squash seeds;…” In Central Mexico, these
ingredients still form the backbone of the cooking, including pipiГЎn,
one of the cuisine’s most refined dishes. Like mole verde, its thickness,
texture and satisfying flavor come primarily from seeds
(pumpkinseeds, sesame seeds or peanuts), and that is apparently why
the Spaniards christened this Indian standard with a name so closely
resembling pepita, their word for seed.
CHARCOAL-GRILLED CHICKEN,
SINALOA-STYLE
Pollo a las Brasas, Estilo Sinaloense
The smoky places are set up at crossroads or scattered around Sinaloan towns, with their bricked-in troughs for embers and their split
chickens, searing and charring two feet above the fire. If there’s a
place to sit, it’s usually folding chairs and tables; but what more is
necessary for a wonderful picnic of pollo a las brasas (literally
“chicken over the embers”), Charcoal-Grilled Baby Onions, Salsa
Mexicana and steaming corn tortillas?
You might want to add Charro Beans, Grill-Roasted Corn or Zuc-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 359
chini with Roasted Peppers, Corn and Cream. Picadillo Turnovers
would be a good informal appetizer, and Mexican Chocolate Ice
Cream with a drizzle of KahlГєa could be dessert. To drink: Mexican
Sangria or beer. This recipe, with its mild, garlicky marinade, is
based on one that appeared in Gastrotur magazine.
YIELD:
6 to 8 servings
2 medium, whole chickens (3ВЅ pounds each)
For the marinade:
1 small onion, roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
11/3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
ВЅ teaspoon each dried thyme, marjoram and oregano
4 bay leaves, broken
A generous teaspoon salt
ВЅ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Splitting the chickens for grilling. Using a large knife or kitchen
shears, cut down both sides of the backbone of 1 chicken, through
the joints where the legs attach, then on through the ribs; remove
the backbone. Open the chicken out flat on your cutting board, skinside up, and press on the breastbone to loosen it so the chicken will
lie flat. For the nicest presentation, make a small incision through
the skin toward the bottom of each thigh and press the end of the
nearest drumstick through it; this will hold the leg in place as the
chicken is grilled. Repeat with the second chicken, then lay them in
a noncorrosive bowl.
2. Marinating the chickens. Puree all the marinade ingredients in a
blender or food processor. Pour the mixture over the chickens and
rub them to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours
(or, preferably, overnight), turning the chickens several times.
3. Grilling and serving the chickens. About 1Вј hours before serving,
light your charcoal fire, let it burn until the coals are only mediumhot, then position the grill about 8 inches above the coals and lightly
oil it. Lay the chickens on the grill, skin-side up, and grill for 35 to
45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes and basting with any leftover
marinade. They are ready when tender, and when a fork pricked
deep into the thigh brings up clear (not pink) juices. (During the final
10 minutes of cooking, grill the onions, as described—Charcoal-
360 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Grilled Baby Onions—if you are using them.) Cut the chickens into
quarters, lay them on a warm platter and serve.
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
Spend ВЅ hour preparing the chicken and marinade at least 4 hours
ahead; it will take 1Вј hours to finish the dish, a good part of it spent
waiting on the fire and then the chicken. The chicken may marinate
for a couple of days, but its texture will be best when grilled just before
serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Grilled Chicken with Another Flavor: Prepare the recipe as directed,
using the following marinade: pulverize Вј teaspoon coriander seeds,
Вј teaspoon black peppercorns, ВЅ inch cinnamon stick, 1/8 teaspoon
whole cloves and 1 bay leaf, then mix with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon
mixed herbs, 2 teaspoons paprika, ВЅ cup vinegar and 4 roasted cloves
of garlic (peeled and mashed to a paste).
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Cornish Game Hens a las Brasas: Substitute 3 or 4 game hens for the
chickens: Split and marinate them as directed, then grill them for 25
to 30 minutes.
a few Mexica beers
CHICKEN THIGHS WITH
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 361
VINEGAR, OIL AND
AROMATIC SPICES
Pollo en Escabeche
This is one of the most popular specialties of Yucatán: The bird—be
it turkey or hen—is stewed, smeared with the robust escabeche spices,
fried (or occasionally char-broiled), then served in its own savory
broth with a beautiful crown of pickley-tasting onions and roasted
peppers.
Since the dish is historically associated with Valladolid (it can be
called escabeche de Valladolid, escabeche oriental or just plain escabeche),
I am offering this simple, savory recipe based on the best version I
tasted there. I’ve called for thighs rather than whole chicken, because
they stand up well to the cooking.
This informal dish goes well with crusty bread and Mixed Vegetable Salad. Masa Boats (Sopes, would be a tasty start to the meal,
homemade ice cream a nice finish. For drinks: beer or Tamarind
Cooler.
YIELD:
4 servings
For simmering the chicken:
8 (about 2ВЅ pounds total) chicken thighs, boned if you wish
Вј teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
ВЅ teaspoon cumin seeds
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
For finishing the dish:
1ВЅ tablespoons (ВЅ recipe) Mixed-Spice Paste
1 tablespoon flour
1 medium onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 long (4-inch) fresh chiles xcatiques or banana peppers, roasted
and peeled, seeded, deveined and cut into long strips
Вј cup lard or vegetable (or olive) oil
362 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Вј cup cider vinegar
Salt, if necessary
1. Simmering the chicken. Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a large
saucepan, add the chicken (plus a little more water if there isn’t
enough to cover it), then skim off any grayish foam that rises during
the first few minutes of simmering. Add the black pepper, cumin,
oregano, bay leaves, salt and garlic. Partially cover and simmer
gently for 23 minutes, until the meat is tender (boned thighs will be
done in about 20 minutes). Remove from the fire, and, if time permits,
cool the chicken in the broth. Fish out the thighs and set them skinside up on a plate. Strain the broth, skim off the fat that rises to the
top and reserve 2ВЅ cups broth.
2. Coating the chicken. When the chicken skin has dried, rub 1 tablespoon of the seasoning paste over the skin side of the thighs; let stand
1 hour, uncovered.
3. Finishing the dish. About 25 minutes before serving, lightly dust
the spice-covered side of the chicken with flour; pat gently to evenly
distribute the flour and remove any excess. Rinse the onion, drain
thoroughly and set aside with the strips of chile.
Set a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat and add the lard or
oil. When hot, lay in the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and fry
until crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and
keep warm in a low oven.
Return the pan to the heat and add the onion and chile. Cook for
4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens. Add
the vinegar, reserved broth and remaining ВЅ tablespoon seasoning
paste, stirring to dissolve the paste. Simmer several minutes to blend
the flavors. Taste for salt.
Place 2 thighs in each of 4 warm, deep plates. Top with a portion
of the onion mixture and broth, and serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 363
Olive oil, Baja California
364 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Coating and Frying the Chicken: If the seasoning paste is too firm to
spread, knead it with the back of a spoon and, if necessary, work in a
few drops of water. It will go on a little irregularly; after the coated
chicken has stood uncovered, the coating will adhere better. The flour
dusting keeps the chicken from sticking to the pan; medium heat keeps
the spices from burning. Using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is by
far the best.
Ingredients
Chiles Xcatiques: These are like the gГјeros of the rest of Mexico: a
yellow-skinned chile similar to our medium-hot banana or Hungarian
wax pepper. I’ve also used 4 small, long green chiles and been satisfied.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start at least 1¾ hours before serving (1 hour won’t require your active
involvement). The dish may be prepared through Step 2, cover and
refrigerated. Let the chicken stand at room temperature, uncovered,
for 45 minutes before completing Step 3.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Shredded Chicken in Escabeche: Complete the recipe as directed, boiling
the final vinegar-broth-onion mixture until reduced by half; taste for
salt. Add the chicken to the brothy mixture, skin-side down, and cool
to room temperature. Skin, bone and coarsely shred the chicken; return
the meat to the broth. Rewarm or serve cool.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Charcoal-Grilled Fresh Tuna or Swordfish Steaks in Escabeche: Spread
2/ of the spice paste on four 7- to 8-ounce fresh tuna or swordfish
3
steaks. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Prepare 2ВЅ cups fish broth.
Fry red (not white) onion and the chiles as directed in Step 3, using Вј
cup olive oil. Add the vinegar, fish broth and remaining spice paste,
and boil until reduced by half. Brush the fish with olive oil, grill over
a medium-low charcoal fire and serve with a ladle of the
onion-chile-spice broth.
Kitchen History
In 1538, just 17 years after the fall of the great Aztec kingdom, it was
recorded that the Spanish conquerors sat down to a festive New World
table set with little birds in pickling sauce (escabeche)—a preparation
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 365
they’d known in their homeland and one that has survived surprisingly
unaltered in Yucatan, through 450 years of turmoil and mestizo
evolution.
YUCATECAN PIT BARBECUE
Eduardo Azcorra’s narrow eyes sparkled when he found out I loved
Yucatecan food. It was the first time I’d sat on a stool at his canopied
stall in front of one of the MГ©rida markets, watching him serve his
breakfast of tamales colados and carry on with all the other vendors
as he kept a sharp eye on everyone’s every movement—like a man
who’d done with little all his life. His hair was graying and thin, but
his enthusiasm belied a lively spirit. And when the subject was food
or politics, in Mayan, Spanish or English, he never had to think up
things to say.
He knew how to dig pits they call pibes, line them with rocks and
build fires on top. He knew how to marinate little pigs or chickens
in achiote seasoning and choose the right fragrant leaves—fig, guava,
wild basil—to go over the coals. He understood how to wrap the
meat in banana leaves, lay it on grates in the pit, and cover it with
henequen bags and earth so it slowly cooked and steamed.
There is little difference between the pit cooking he spelled out
and that of the lamb barbacoa so famous in Central Mexico. Of course,
in YucatГЎn the seasonings are different, and the meat is wrapped in
more flexible, more sealable banana leaves, rather than maguey.
And in recent years, the cooks have translated the leaf-wrapped pit
cooking into indoor steaming and baking; it doesn’t give the food
any taste of the fire, but it is certainly easier for most North Americans (many of whom, like me, don’t even have a yard to dig in).
I’ve never tasted the pit-cooked versions of chicken or pork pibil,
but several recipes suggest re-creating the pit-cooked flavor by
heating the cooked meat over smoky charcoal. Perhaps—but I love
the flavors as they are: aromatic with red achiote and spices, tart with
bitter orange juice and herby with banana leaves. The following recipe, based on the one from Sr. Azcorra, show those flavors at their
best.
366 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Kitchen Spanish
Pib in Mayan, according to the authoritative Diccionario de mejicanismos, refers as much to the procedure of roasting—underground
or in the modern oven—as it does to the hot pit; it can even refer to
roasted food in general. To most YucatecГЎns, though, it still seems
to conjure up scenes of earthy holes, achiote-marinated meat and
banana leaves.
Chicken Pibil Steamed in Banana Leaves
RED-SEASONED CHICKEN
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 367
STEAMED IN BANANA LEAVES
Pollo Pibil
With the earthy, spicy marinade, the roasted peppers and fresh tomatoes, the fragrant banana-leaf wrapper and the crown of crunchy,
pink pickled onions, this dish is one of the glories of Mexican cooking. I like to serve it by itself, with only steaming corn tortillas as an
accompaniment. For a first course, creamy Fresh Corn Chowder
would be delicious, as would be a dessert of Spicy Poached Guavas
or fresh berries.
YIELD:
4 servings
2 large (about 2ВЅ pounds total), whole chicken breasts, skinned
and boned or half-boned
4 (about 1Вј pounds) chicken thighs, skinned and boned if
you wish
Вј cup (1 recipe) Achiote Seasoning Paste
6 tablespoons bitter orange juice
ВЅ teaspoon salt
Four 12 Г— 18-inch rectangles of banana leaves
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 long (4-inch) fresh chiles xcatiques or banana peppers, roasted
and peeled, seeded, deveined and cut into long strips
About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for coating the banana
leaves
1 ripe, medium-large tomato, cored and sliced in 8 rounds
About 2/3 cup (ВЅ recipe) Pickled Red Onions
1. Marinating the chicken. Halve the chicken breasts and place in a
noncorrosive bowl with the thighs. Mix together the seasoning paste,
4 tablespoons of the bitter orange juice and the salt; if your homemade
seasoning paste looks gritty, blend the mixture for a minute or so
to smooth it out. Pour it over the chicken, mix thoroughly, cover
and refrigerate at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight. Refrigerate
the remaining bitter orange juice for use in Step 3.
2. Other preliminaries. Prepare the banana leaves as described and
cut eight 18-inch lengths of kitchen string for tying the packages.
368 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Heat the lard or oil in a medium-size skillet over medium, add
the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about
10 minutes. Scoop the onion and all the lard or oil into a small dish,
then mix in the chile strips.
3. Preparing the packages. Lay out the banana leaves shiny-side up
and brush lightly with oil. Place a breast half and thigh in the center
of each one, top with a portion of onion-chile mixture and 2 rounds
of tomato. Sprinkle each with ВЅ tablespoon of the reserved bitter
orange juice, a quarter of any fat remaining from the onion-chile
mixture, and a quarter of the remaining marinade.
Chicken and condiments on banana leaf
Fold each of the packages: Pick up the two short sides of the leaf
and bring them to meet (face-to-face, not overlapping), then fold
over twice, to make a tight (French) seam; fold in the top and bottom,
overlapping them in the center, then use 2 strings to tie the package
snugly in both directions.
Bringing the two ends together
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 369
Folding over twice to make a tight seal
Folded and tied chicken pibil package
4. Steaming the chicken. About 40 minutes before serving, set up a
large steamer with an inch of water in the bottom. Place the packages
on the steamer rack, cover and steam over medium to medium-low
heat for 30 to 35 minutes. Retrieve a package, untie it and check that
the thigh is cooked through and tender.
5. Serving. Remove the packages to warm dinner plates. Cut the
strings and open up each package, being careful to contain the juices.
Fold the edges of the banana leaves underneath for an attractive
presentation, top with a little of the pickled red onions and serve.
Chicken pibil
370 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Cooking in Banana Leaves: They will contain and flavor the cooking
juices of the chicken; if they develop leaks, make foil “boats” to set
them in.
A Single-Package Alternative: When I’m in a hurry, I make a single
package of Pollo Pibil in an 11-inch metal tart pan that fits in my big
steamer with Вѕ inch all around for letting the steam rise: Line the pan
with a single leaf (shiny-side up), then lay on 2 more leaves to meet
in the center and overhang the edges. Brush with oil and arrange the
chicken on top in a single layer; finish the layering as described. Fold
in the leaves on the edges, then cover it all snugly with another leaf
and a tight lid of foil.
Ingredients
Banana Leaves: Notes on locating, choosing, storing and preparing
can be found. If unavailable, make the chicken packages with
aluminum foil or parchment paper, though the effect isn’t quite the
same.
Chiles Xcatiques: These are like the gГјeros of the rest of Mexico: a
yellow-skinned chile similar to our medium-hot banana or Hungarian
wax peppers. I have also used 4 small long green chiles and been
satisfied with the results.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Prepare the pickled red onions the day before. Once the chicken has
marinated, you’ll need 1 hour to prepare the packages and ½ hour for
steaming. The chicken may be kept in the marinade several days and
the packages may be made early in the day you’re serving; the chicken
is best when steamed just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Cochinita (Pork) Pibil: Prepare the recipe through Step 2, substituting
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (cut into 2-inch slabs) for the chicken.
Line a large Dutch oven with 2 leaves (shiny-side up) and brush with
oil. Layer as directed in Step 3, cover with the two remaining leaves
(lightly oiled, shiny-side down), tucking them snugly around the meat.
Cover and bake at 350В° for about 2ВЅ hours, until the meat is tender.
Fish in Banana leaves (Nac Cum): Prepare the recipe through Step 3,
substituting 1ВЅ pounds boneless, skinless fish fillets (choose halibut,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 371
bass, grouper, cod or the like) for the chicken and sprinkling a little
chopped flat-leaf parsley over the fish before closing the packages.
Steam over simmering water for 20 minutes, until the fish flakes.
CHILIED CHICKEN STEAMED
WITH AVOCADO LEAVES
Barbacoa de Pollo, Estilo
Guerrerense
In Southern Mexico, the preparation of barbacoa frequently changes
from the maguey-wrapped, pit-cooked chunks of lamb (typical in
Central states), to an aromatic dish of chile-marinated goat that has
been slowly steamed over a bed of anisey avocado leaves; it’s sold
in the markets to roll up into special tacos. On weekends in Guerrero,
some cooks make a delicious version with chicken—which is certainly a simple alternative for us average North Americans.
My original recipe, from a market vendor in Tixtla, Guerrero,
called for whole chicken; but I’ve given directions for half-boned
breasts and boned thighs so you can serve your barbacoa easily as a
main dish. It is simple, good fare for backyard parties, with a Mixed
Vegetable Salad, Mexican Rice, plus hot corn tortillas, Fresh Green
Tomatillo Sauce and chopped red onions. I’d served Jamaica “Flower”
Cooler or beer to drink and Pecan Pie with Raw Sugar for dessert.
YIELD:
4 servings
8 medium (about 2 ounces total) dried chiles guajillos
2ВЅ tablespoons sesame seeds
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
3 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
ВЅ teaspoon black peppercorns (or about Вѕ teaspoon ground)
ВЅ medium onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1ВЅ tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
Salt, about 1 teaspoon, divided between the marinade and the
steaming liquid
372 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
2 large (about 2ВЅ pounds total), whole chicken breasts, boned
or half-boned
4 (about 1Вј pounds) chicken thighs, boned if you wish
15 avocado leaves (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
1. The chile paste. Stem the chiles, break them open, discard the
seeds and carefully remove the veins, reserving them for later. Tear
the chiles into flat pieces. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium, then toast the chiles a few pieces at a time, pressing them firmly
against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they crackle and
change color, then flipping them over and pressing down to toast
the other side. Cover them with boiling water, weight with a plate
to keep them submerged, and soak for 30 minutes.
Toast the sesame seeds on the griddle or skillet, stirring for several
minutes until golden; scrape into a blender jar. Toast the chile veins
for a few seconds only and add them to the sesame seeds. Pulverize
the spices in a mortar or spice grinder and add to the blender along
with the onion, garlic, vinegar and ВЅ cup water.
Drain the chiles and stir into the blender. Blend until smooth,
stirring and scraping down the mixture several times; add additional
water only if absolutely necessary. Strain the thick mixture through
a medium-mesh sieve.
Heat the lard or oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high.
When quite hot, add the chile puree all at once and stir constantly,
for 4 or 5 minutes, until very thick and dark. Season with about ВЅ
teaspoon salt and cool.
2. Marinating the chicken. Halve the chicken breasts and place in a
noncorrosive bowl with the chicken thighs. Scrape in the chile paste
and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate several hours or, preferably, overnight.
3. Steaming the chicken. About 45 minutes before serving, set up a
large steamer: Measure 3 cups water into the bottom and cover the
steamer rack with a single layer of avocado leaves. Lay the chicken
over the leaves, daub any remaining marinade on top, then lay on
the remaining leaves. Cover and steam over medium to mediumlow heat for 25 minutes.
4. Finishing the barbacoa. Remove the chicken and leaves, take out
the steamer rack, then add the leaves to the simmering liquid. Boil
over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, remove from the fire, skim
off any fat and lightly season with salt.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 373
Return the chicken to the broth, cover and simmer for 3 or 4
minutes; turn the pieces over and simmer a minute or so longer,
until much of the marinade has dissolved into the broth. Serve the
chicken in deep, warm plates with several spoonfuls of broth.
Gvocado leaves (hojas de aguacate)
374 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Cooking with Chile Veins: The veins contain the highest concentration
of the chile’s burning capsaicin; they’re occasionally used, in small
quantities, to spice up a dish. Steaming the Chile-Coated Chicken: The
chile paste will set up into a rather unattractive, dull coating as the
chicken steams. For that reason, the meat is quickly simmered with
the liquid to dissolve some of the coating and add richness to the broth.
Cooking the Chicken Breast: If you’re like me and want your chicken
breast really moist and barely done, add it to the steamer 10 minutes
after you’ve started steaming the thighs.
Ingredients
Chiles Guajillos: When these are not available, 6 or 7 California or
New Mexico chiles can be substituted.
Chicken: My recipe calls for breasts and thighs simply for ease of
eating. A quartered chicken may be substituted if refinement isn’t
what you’re looking for or if you’re going to shred the meat for tacos.
Avocado Leaves: If you don’t live in the Southwest or Florida, where
avocado trees grow, line the steamer with lettuce leaves, then replace
the avocado leaves with 20 bay leaves; add ВЅ teaspoon cracked aniseed
to the steaming water. Strain the seeds out of the broth before serving.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow at least 4 hours to prepare and marinate the meat, then 45
minutes to complete the dish; total active involvement is about 1Вј
hours. The chicken may marinate for 2 days; finish Steps 3 and 4 shortly
before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Shredded Chicken Barbacoa for Taco Fillings: Complete the recipe as
directed, reducing the liquid to 1 cup. Remove the chicken from the
simmering broth, skin, bone and shred it, then return it to the broth.
Serve with Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce and chopped red onion.
Goat or Lamb Barbacoa: Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing the
chicken with a 5-pound goat hindquarter or a 3-pound lamb shoulder.
Allow about 3 hours for steaming—and watch that the liquid doesn’t
boil away. Bone the cooked meat, leaving it in large pieces. Heat it in
the broth as directed in Step 4, then serve.
MEAT
Carnes
We stepped through the yellow metal door in the pink-painted,
plastered adobe, into María Lara de García’s home and twice-a-week
pozole parlor. It was 6:45 in the morning in Almolonga, Guerrero,
but there was every indication of midday: Everyone was up, dressed
and finished with the morning chores; the huge caldron of pozole
376 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
that had been simmering over the smoldering, smoky-gray fire was
ready; the first customers had arrived as the eight-foot table was
pulled into place; and the first quart-size earthenware cazuelas were
being pulled off the wall for servings of the rich pork and hominy
soup.
Deann and I had arrived in town the Sunday before, driving from
Chilpancingo, where the air was warm, up over the first ridge of
mountains, then climbing and winding our way on up to the dirtroad turn-off to the small village. It lay farther in, around a bend in
the green valley, where the houses stumbled out over a little, steeply
graded niche, split up by a few cobbled streets and rugged paths.
We made the climb up to the land just above the church, where our
friends Cliff and Sue Small live.
They smoothed our way into the culinary activity of the community, and after a few weeks, I arose at 4:00 A.M. and shined my
flashlight on the path back to the Garcías’. María’s husband, Beto,
must have been up for some time, judging from the washtub of nearboiling water set over a hot, attractive fire. Three other men came
into the utility yard made up of horse stalls, cisterns and a butchering
table. They set about roping a pig, and within half an hour the animal
had been slaughtered, bled and cleaned.
Routinely and swiftly, each part of the most common Mexican
red-meat source was dispatched: the head for tomorrow’s pozole;
the trotters for María’s dinner; the tripe, stomach and intestines put
to soak in one of the shallow concrete sinks; the heart, liver, kidneys
and portion of lower intestine set aside to be sold immediately.
It was 6:30 by this time, and the town’s loudspeaker came on for
the first of the day’s announcements: Señora María Lara has pork
and innards for sale; later there will be chicharrones and blood sausage. There arrived an almost immediate stream of ladies, wrapped
tightly in shawls pulled high to guard their faces from the dawn
chill. Each set her white dish, holding its well-counted pesos, in a
line on the table. They would return, they all said, as soon as the
innards were divided up.
Then MarГ­a began cutting the innards into inch-size pieces and
portioning them out for the ladies to take home and fry for midmorning almuerzo. Out in the yard, the soft fat from around the internal
organs was collected for rendering into lard. The skin was cut from
the carcass and hung on the line to dry before frying into chicharrones.
Finally, the four quarters of the pig were hung on meat hooks above
a table near the door to the patio.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 377
The remainder of the morning was spent making morcilla (their
delicious, mint-and-cilantro-flavored blood sausage), pozole and
chicharrones. MarГ­a and her assistants cooked in the open-air kitchen
over wood fires, which were nestled into U-shaped supports that
rose from the massive plastered mudbank that was the stove. It was
the right setup for María’s 25- to 40-gallon pots and, as María said,
pozole that’s not cooked in big batches all night over a smoldering
fire lacks a certain special flavor.
Mexican pork is legendary for its succulence: It makes rich chorizo
sausage, meatballs and ground-meat stuffings for chiles rellenos and
turnovers; everywhere, it’s slowly browned in its own fat for the
delectably textured carnitas. In Chiapas, it’s slow-roasted with chilespice marinade (cochito); in Yucatán, the slow-cooking takes place
in banana leaves with achiote seasoning (cochinita pibil). Nearly all
Mexican cooks know how to do pork in a red chile—rich adobo
marinade or sauce. Pueblans make the meat into a stew with tomatoes and chipotle peppers (tinga). And Northerners simmer it for their
ubiquitous carne con chile colorado; a few of them also make a chileflavored braise/roast called asado.
Cattle did well in Mexico after the Spanish brought in their starter
herds in 1521, first in Veracruz and the Central highlands, then
spreading extensively through the Northern reaches. Over the years,
the North gained a reputation as the land of good beef—beef cut the
North American way, nowadays. But the rest of the country usually
puts up with lower quality: Their beef is either cut with the grain
into thin sheets for salt preserving (cecina) or drying (came seca), or
it’s slowly simmered to render it tender. Now and again, you’ll encounter a nice steak in non-Northern spots, frequently a piece of
tenderloin that has been thin-sliced like cecina and seared on a hot
griddle. The fully dried beef, interestingly, also became a Northern
specialty (perhaps because the area produced more beef than it could
consume); so today, dishes made from jerky (like machaca or
machacado) are associated with the North.
Without pigs or cows, pre-Columbian Mexico relied on the highquality protein of beans, corn and tiny amaranth seeds, plus an
abundance of wild game. In YucatГЎn and Sonora, there is still a
predilection for deer. It is mild and delicious when pit-roasted in
the YucatecГЎn manner, and cooks in other areas prepare it as steaks
or dry it into jerky. Tabasco is a haven for wild things; the local
specialties include the capybaralike tepescuintle and armadillo in all
378 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
kinds of braises and red-chile stews. Iguana is a regional offering of
Guerrero.
Kid slow-roasted over the embers (cabrito al pastor) is abundant
in the northeast; in the same area and on down toward the Central
highlands, the kid is simply roasted or stewed in adobo or in its own
blood (fritada). And kid plays a role as well in barbacoa, pit-cooked
meat that has been wrapped in aromatic leaves and set on a rack
over simmering broth. In Central Mexico, large open-air restaurants
still cook maguey-wrapped lamb in brick pits and serve it with a
salsa borracha of pasilla peppers and pulque (fermented maguey juice).
But in most areas, the method has evolved away from the pit: In the
West-Central states, lamb or kid is chile-marinated and slow-roasted
on a rack in a sealed container (birria, they call it); in Southern Mexico, kid or chicken is chile-marinated and steamed in avocado leaves
(barbacoa); and in Yucatán, it is the banana leaf—wrapped pork or
chicken pibil that has moved out of the earth pit and into the oven
or steamer.
And, of course, Mexicans never waste the innards. The tripe is the
beloved stewed pancita of Central Mexico and the menudo soup of
the rest of the country, especially the North. A mixture of the internal
organs makes up a brothy chocolomo in Campeche and YucatГЎn, and
a saucy chanfaina in many other places. I, for one, wouldn’t want to
go for charcoal-roasted cabrito without ordering the machitos, the
tender liver wrapped in chitlings; they are among my most memorable gastronomical experiences.
As you can tell from this tour of Mexican preparations, meat is
prized. Poultry and seafood are certainly well loved (and prepared
in a good variety of ways), but special meat dishes really abound. I
know that for our everyday meals many of us are leaning toward
fish and chicken. But for those special occasions when you want to
feature meat on the menu, you’ll find some wonderful traditional
Mexican recipes in this chapter.
For meat recipes from other chapters, see “Meat” in the Index.
QUICK-FRIED BEEF TIPS
WITH MEXICAN FLAVORS
Puntas de Filete a la Mexicana
Any dish a la mexicana means a dish of what Mexicans have absorbed
as a normal part of life…like the union of tomatoes, onions and
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 379
chiles. When the tomatoes are fresh, ripe and chunky and the chiles
are roasted poblanos, this dish of browned beef a la mexicana makes
a simple and inviting statement in forthright flavors.
North of the border, we think of “tips” as cubes of meat from the
sirloin tip or better, but Mexican butchery is less exacting. Someone
with quality in mind will serve cubes of filete (“tenderloin”), but
when cost is a concern, the pounded slices of beef (usually called
bisteces) are in order.
Beef tips a la mexicana (or some variation) is a common restaurant
and cafetería dish throughout the country, but it’s most popular in
the North. This version, patterned after the one served at Fonda el
Refugio in Mexico City, is simple, but done with finesse. Serve it
after a hearty first course of Melted Cheese with Peppers and Chorizo
with flour tortillas, accompany it with a salad and have ice cream
with Goat-Milk Caramel for dessert.
YIELD:
4 small servings
1 pound tender, lean, boneless beef like rib eye, tenderloin,
short loin (New York), sirloin or even sirloin tip
2 medium fresh chiles poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
1ВЅ pounds (3 medium-large) ripe tomatoes, roasted or boiled,
cored and peeled
OR one 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable (or olive) oil, plus a little more
if needed
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
2 bay leaves
2
/3 cup beef broth
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
1. Preliminaries. Trim the meat of excess fat and cut into Вѕ-inch
cubes; dry on paper towels. Dice the chiles into ВЅ-inch pieces. Seed
the peeled tomatoes, if you wish, by cutting across their width and
gently squeezing out the seeds, then chop the tomatoes into ВЅ-inch
pieces.
2. Browning the meat. In a large skillet, heat the lard or oil over
medium-high. When sizzlingly hot, add the cubes of meat in an
380 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
uncrowded single layer. Brown them, turning frequently, for about 4
minutes (to about medium-rare). Remove the meat and reduce the
heat to medium.
3. Finishing the dish. Scoop the onion into the skillet and fry until
soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and
stir for a minute or so longer, then add the chiles, tomatoes, herbs
and bay leaves. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes soften
and the mixture becomes somewhat homogeneous, about 4 minutes;
add the broth and simmer 5 minutes longer. Last, add the browned
meat (and any juices that have collected around it). When the meat
has heated through, remove the bay leaves, season with salt and the
dish is ready for the table.
Fresh poblano chiles
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 381
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Choosing the Best Ingredients and Treating Them Right: I have eaten
this dish when it was simple perfection…as well as when it was less
than inviting, when the meat was sweated in a half-hot pan and then
simmered with harsh onions, mealy tomatoes and a dozen serranos.
The trick is to choose the best ingredients and to brown the meat well.
Ingredients
Meat: Any piece of meat that you would fry, broil or grill works well.
A less tender cut from the round could be used, if you return the meat
to the pan when the tomatoes go in, cover the pan after adding the
broth and increase the simmering time to 15 to 30 minutes (until the
meat is tender).
Chiles Poblanos: As they do around Chihuahua, you can use 4 long
green chiles (roasted, peeled and seeded), or even 4 chiles serranos
(seeded only and thinly sliced).
Tomatoes: Good-quality, canned pear-shaped tomatoes are much
better here than less-than-ripe mealy fresh ones.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparation time is about 45 minutes. The dish can be completed
through Step 2 in advance; finish Step 3 in the 20 minutes before
serving.
TRADITIONAL
VARIATIONS
Beef Tips a la Ranchera: Prepare 2 cups Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile
Sauce. Cube and brown the meat as directed in Steps 1 and 2 above.
Brown ВЅ small onion (sliced), then add 2 or 3 long green chiles
(roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced), the tomato sauce and the broth.
Simmer 10 minutes, then add the meat, heat and serve.
Pork a la Ranchera: Prepare the preceding variation recipe using 1
pound boneless pork shoulder, but with one modification: Add the pork
with the tomato sauce, cover and simmer until tender.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Lamb Tips with Mexican Flavors: Cut 1 pound well-trimmed, boneless
lamb loin into Вѕ-inch cubes. Sear the meat over a hot charcoal fire or
brown it as described in Step 2. Follow the directions for Step 3, with
382 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
the following modification: When the garlic has cooked 2 minutes,
add 2 tablespoons tequila and let reduce to a glaze. Continue as
directed, replacing the mixed herbs and bay leaves with 2 tablespoons
chopped fresh coriander (cilantro).
BROILED BEEF WITH CLASSIC
ACCOMPANIMENTS, TAMPICO-STYLE
Carne Asada a la TampiqueГ±a
There could scarcely be a restaurant dish more common, more distinctly Mexican, than this “combination” plate: a tender strip of
quick-seared beef, a bowl of tasty beans, guacamole, a saucy enchilada and perhaps some lightly browned rajas of chile and onion.
The plate has nothing really to do with the port town of Tampico,
but rather, was named by the tampiqueГ±o JosГ© Luis Loredo. When
the famous waiter moved from oil-rich Tampico to Mexico City in
1939 to open the Tampico Club, his carne asada a la tampiqueГ±a became
a signature dish. Though variations abound, I’ve presented the traditional version offered at such Loredo restaurants as Colonial
Loredo and Caballo Bayo; I’ve left off the grilled square of cheese,
simply because the necessary nonmelting, panela-style cheese is uncommon here. Flour or corn tortillas and a sauce like Red-Chile
Sauce, Chile Chipotle Sauce, or Salsa Mexicana are all you need to
make this dish a meal. Beer, Jamaica “Flower” Cooler or Mexican
Sangria would be my drink choices; and I’d want a Sweet FreshCheese Pie for dessert.
YIELD:
4 servings
4 (about 1ВЅ pounds total) thin steaks cut from the tenderloin
or short loin, or trimmed skirt steaks (see Ingredients in Cook’s
Notes)
About 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2ВЅ to 3 cups (ВЅ recipe) Brothy Beans
About 2 cups (2/3 recipe) Quick-Cooked Tomatillo Sauce
About Вѕ cup (ВЅ recipe) Roasted Pepper Rajas, made with
whipping cream or broth
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 383
About 1ВЅ cups (ВЅ recipe) Chunky Guacamole
4 romaine lettuce leaves, for garnish
4 radish roses or a few radish slices, for garnish
8 corn tortillas, preferably store-bought
Вј cup vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary
ВЅ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other
fresh cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
Several tablespoons finely chopped onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired
1. Seasoning the meat. Lay the steaks in a noncorrosive dish and
sprinkle both sides with the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 4
hours.
2. Other prepare-ahead preliminaries. Scrape the cooked beans into
one small saucepan and the tomatillo sauce into another; cover them
and set aside. Scoop the rajas into a small, oven-proof dish, cover
with foil and set aside.
3. Last-minute preliminaries. About an hour before serving, put together the guacamole. Lay the romaine leaves on a plate and mound
a portion of guacamole on each one; decorate with radish roses or
slices. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
If the tortillas are moist, lay them in a single layer to dry until
leathery. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high.
When hot enough to make the edge of a tortilla really sizzle, quickfry the tortillas one at a time, about 3 seconds per side, to soften
them. Drain well on paper towels, stack them up, wrap in foil, place
in the oven and turn it on to 200В°. Set the skillet aside to use for frying
the meat.
Set out the cheese and onion. Place the rajas and 4 large heatproof
dinner plates in the oven. Set the beans and the tomatillo sauce over
low heat to reheat.
4. Frying the meat. Dry the steaks on paper towels, then sprinkle
with salt and pepper. Heat the skillet from Step 3 over medium-high;
if there isn’t enough oil left to lightly coat the bottom, add a little
more. When the pan is quite hot, lay in the steaks. Fry rare or mediumrare, 1½ to 2 minutes per side; don’t overcook. Remove to a wire
rack set over a plate and keep warm in the oven. (As the meat “rests,”
it will reabsorb juices that would otherwise leak out when cut.)
384 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
5. Assembling the dish. Lay out the plates and assemble 2 enchiladas
on each one: Remove a tortilla from the foil, lay it on the side of one
plate, ladle a little sauce in the center, fold in half, then ladle sauce
over the top; repeat with a second tortilla, letting it overlap the first
one a little, then sprinkle them with the cheese and onion. Lay a
steak on each plate, top with a portion of the rajas, then slide a “romaine boat” of guacamole in beside it. Serve immediately with bowls
of steaming beans set to the side of each plate.
Carne asada a la tampifueГ±a
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 385
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Pan-Frying Meat: For the meat to have good browned flavor, dry it,
heat the pan thoroughly and use a large pan (crowded meat sweats
and stews).
Ingredients
Steak for Carne Asada: Tenderloin or short loin (where New York
steaks come from) makes the best carne asada. The meat is traditionally
cut with the grain into ¼- to 3/8-inch-thick “sheets” as for Cecina; or
a 3-inch piece may be “roll-cut”: Holding the knife parallel to the work
surface, cut across the tenderloin Вј to 3/8 inch below the surface; stop
Вј inch from the edge. Roll the meat over so the sliced sheet is hanging
down on the right side. Starting where the last cut ended, cut across
what is now the top, Вј to 3/8 inch below the surface, stop Вј inch from
the edge, roll, cut, roll, cut…until you’ve “unrolled” the meat into a
single sheet.
On the other hand, the butchers I surveyed in Chicago’s four
best Mexican groceries all said they’d choose a good skirt
steak for carne asada. For directions on using it.
Tortillas:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Because this dish is a sampler of 5 distinct preparations, it takes some
forethought and a couple of hours to make (if the beans are on hand).
The rajas and tomatillo sauce can be made 2 or 3 days ahead, covered
and refrigerated. The meat may be seasoned up to 4 hours in advance;
Steps 3 through 5 should be completed just before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Charcoal-Broiled Carne Asada: Simply prepare a hot charcoal fire and
grill the seasoned meat over it; otherwise prepare the recipe as directed.
Carne Asada with Other Accompaniments: Frijoles Refritos may replace
the brothy ones; the enchiladas may be made with Red Mole rather
than tomatillo sauce.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Marinated Steaks for Carne Asada: Heat 4 tablespoons vegetable or
olive oil with Вј teaspoon each ground allspice and black pepper plus
2 broken bay leaves. Let cool, then blend with 1 tablespoon lime juice;
386 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
pour over the steaks. Refrigerate overnight, turning several times.
Prepare recipe as directed, omitting Step 1.
Regional Explorations
Guadalajarans are crazy about char-grilled carne asada steaks served
on earthenware plates with Griddle-Baked Cheese Quesadillas,
Charcoal-Grilled Baby Onions, Brothy Beans, Salsa Picante,
Cactus-Paddle Salad and Guacamole with Tomatillos. Variations on
the theme are made throughout West-Central Mexico.
PORK-STUFFED CHILES IN
SAVORY TOMATO SAUCE
Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo
Chiles rellenos are slid onto hundreds of plates in restaurants and
market fondas throughout the Republic every day, and they can be
as different as the Northern long green variety stuffed with Chihuahua cheese, or the Veracruz meat-stuffed jalapeГ±os wrapped in a
tortilla to eat “taco-style” in the market. They might come filled with
shredded crab or shrimp (as on the upper east and west coasts); they
might be simple and unsauced, or made from reconstituted chiles
anchos, or even stuffed with warm fried beans and set out unbattered.
I’ve encountered a great number of people smitten with taste for
these, which is unfortunate for them, because they do take a little
time to prepare; I’ve set up a workable schedule under Timing.
Saucy chiles rellenos need little to accompany them, only some Mexican Rice, perhaps a romaine salad, and Flan for dessert. A lightly
sauced, cheese-filled chile relleno makes an elegant first course.
YIELD:
8 stuffed chiles, 4 servings
8 large fresh chiles poblanos
About 2 cups (1 recipe) Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce
1ВЅ cups beef or pork broth
Oil to a depth of Вѕ inch, for frying
About Вј cup flour, plus another tablespoon for the eggs
About 3 cups (1 recipe) Minced-Pork Picadillo or
Northern-Style Shredded Beef, at room temperature
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 387
4 large eggs, at room temperature
ВЅ teaspoon salt
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Cleaning the chiles. Roast and peel the chiles as directed, being
careful not to overcook them or break off their stems. Seed them:
Make a slit in the side of each one, from the shoulder down nearly
to the point; with an index finger, scrape the seeds loose from the
seed pods (just underneath the stem); under a gentle stream of water,
flush the chiles clean of all their seeds, then drain. If you want milder
chiles, carefully cut out the veins that run down the inside flesh of
each one. Dry the chiles inside and out with paper towels.
2. Other preliminaries. In a small saucepan, mix the prepared tomato
sauce with the broth (you may want to add Вј teaspoon each ground
cinnamon and black pepper, if you’re using Oaxacan Minced-Pork
Picadillo). Cover and place over very low heat. Heat the frying oil
over medium-low.
3. Stuffing the chiles. Stuff the chiles with room-temperature filling,
leaving room to reclose the opening. If a chile won’t reform around
the filling or if it is torn, “sew” it together with toothpicks; any that
can be gently picked up by the stem without losing their filling are
fine as is.
Peeled, cleaned and stuffed chiles
4. Battering and frying the chiles. Spread about Вј cup flour onto a
plate, then roll the roll chiles in it and shake off the excess.
Separate the eggs: whites into a clean mixing bowl, yolks into a
small dish. Add the salt to the egg whites, then beat with a whisk
or electric mixer set at medium speed until they are just stiff enough
to hold a peak. Gently beat in the yolks one at a time, followed by
1 tablespoon of flour; stop beating when the flour is incorporated.
Bring the oil to 375В°. Holding a chile by its stem, dip it completely
388 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
into the egg batter, draw it out quickly, then lay it into the hot oil;
batter 2 or 3 more chiles and lay them in the oil. (If a chile doesn’t
have a stem, set it on a fork, dip it in the batter, then roll it off into
the oil; any uncovered spot can be dabbed with a little batter.) When
the chiles are brown underneath, gently roll them over and brown
the other side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven.
Batter and fry the remaining chiles, then drain with the others.
5. Garnish and presentation. Ladle about Вѕ cup of brothy tomato
sauce into each of 4 warm, deep plates, top with 2 chiles, then spoon
a dribble of the sauce across the middle of each chile for decoration.
Lay a sprig of parsley between the chiles and carry them to the table.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 389
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Dipping and Frying the Chiles: Two points to remember in coating
the chiles: Dipping them completely in the batter keeps oil from
soaking the insides, and quickly pulling them from the batter ensures
a light, even coating. If the batter seems overly thick, whisk in a
teaspoon of water. The batter is light and porous, so make sure the oil
is 375В°, or it will soak right in.
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: Though these are the most popular chiles for stuffing
(because of their thick flesh, large size and rich flavor), different local
varieties are used all across the Republic. Stateside, many choose the
common, long green chiles. Substitute 12 medium ones in this recipe;
the canned ones are soft and difficult to stuff.
Timing and Advance Preparation
When the filling and sauce are made ahead, the chiles rellenos take
about 45 minutes to finish; refrigerated filling should come to room
temperature before you use it. You may stuff the chiles a day in
advance; cover and refrigerate until 1 hour before frying. Steps 3 and
4 must be completed just before serving. If you’re forced to fry your
chiles rellenos in advance (do it no more than 2 hours ahead), thoroughly
drain them on paper towels, turning them over once; when you’re
ready to serve, set them 6 inches below a heated broiler for 4 or 5
minutes.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Cheese Chiles Rellenos: Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing the
filling with 4 cups (1 pound) grated melting cheese like Monterey Jack
or mild cheddar; form the grated cheese into 8 ovals, then slip them
into the seeded chiles and re-form. Though not usually to North
American taste, many Mexicans prefer queso fresco to the melting
cheese.
Pan-Fried Chiles Rellenos, with Sauce and Without: Complete the
recipe through Step 2, ignoring references to frying oil. Prepare 1ВЅ
times the batter (Step 3). Heat a little vegetable oil in a large,
well-seasoned skillet over medium. Spoon out the batter into 3 or 4
rounds, lay a stuffed chile onto each one, then spoon a little batter over
the top. When browned underneath, flip them over and brown on the
other side. This method works well with the narrower, long green
390 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chiles. Serve with Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chile Sauce (no broth added),
or serve without any sauce at all.
Black-Bean Chiles Rellenos: As a special side dish or vegetarian main
course, prepare the chiles for stuffing (Step 1), fill them with 3 cups
Frijoles Refritos made with black beans. Lay in a baking dish, pour 1ВЅ
to 2 cups Thick Cream over them, sprinkle on a little salt and bake at
350В° until lightly brown around the edges.
PORK WITH SMOKY TOMATO SAUCE,
POTATOES AND AVOCADO
Tinga Poblana
Rich in roasted tomatoes, browned meat and smoky chipotle
chiles—this is one of my favorite dishes and one my North American
friends take to readily. In colonial Puebla, on the other side of the
volcanos from mile-high Mexico City, tinga is offered as a stew in
the restaurants, a filling for tortas in the snack shops and a stuffing
for the masa turnovers available from street griddles.
The recipe that follows is based on the version served at Puebla’s
Fonda Santa Clara restaurant. It is a good warming stew with a spicy
edge, and it makes a beautiful, simple meal with crusty rolls, a salad
and Almond Flan. Beer, Tamarind Cooler, or even a robust red wine
like Chianti or Zinfandel would go well here.
YIELD:
4 servings
1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut in
1ВЅ-inch cubes
ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as marjoram and thyme)
3 bay leaves
2 medium (about 10 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the
red-skinned ones, quartered
1ВЅ pounds (about 3 medium-large) ripe tomatoes, roasted or
boiled, peeled and cored
OR one 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained
4 ounces (ВЅ cup) chorizo sausage, store-bought or homemade,
removed from its casing
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 391
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
2 canned chiles chipotles in adobo, seeded and thinly sliced
4 teaspoons of the adobo sauce from the can of chiles
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
Sugar, about ВЅ teaspoon
For the garnish:
1 ripe, medium avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 ounces Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like mild
goat or farmer’s cheese (or even Muenster), cut into 8 fingers
A Вј-inch slice of onion, broken into rings
1. The meat. Bring about 1 quart salted water to a boil in a mediumsize saucepan, add the pork, skim the grayish foam that rises to the
top during the first few minutes of simmering, then add the herbs
and bay leaves. Partially cover and simmer over medium heat until
the meat is tender, about 50 minutes. (If there is time, let the meat
cool in the broth.) Remove the meat, then strain the broth and spoon
off all the fat that rises to the top; reserve 1 cup. When the meat is
cool enough to handle, dry it on paper towels and break it into Вѕinch pieces.
2. The potatoes, tomatoes and chorizo. Boil the potatoes in salted water
to cover until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain, peel (if you want),
then chop into ВЅ-inch dice. Seed the tomatoes, if you wish, by cutting
them in half crosswise and gently squeezing out the seeds; then chop
into ВЅ-inch pieces. Fry the chorizo in the oil in a large, heavy skillet
over medium-low heat until done, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any clumps. Remove, leaving as much fat as
possible in the skillet.
3. Browning the main ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and add
the onion and pork. Fry, stirring frequently, until well browned, about
10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 minutes.
4. Finishing the stew. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano and
chorizo, mix well and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, the reserved cup of broth, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce from the can.
Simmer gently for 10 minutes to blend the flavors, then season with
salt and sugar.
392 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
5. Garnish and presentation. When you’re ready to serve, scoop the
simmering tinga into a warm serving dish and decorate with alternating slices of avocado and fingers of cheese. Strew the top with
onion rings and serve.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Browning the Ingredients: A good part of the depth and richness of
this dish comes from a thorough browning in Step 3. And roasted
(rather than canned or boiled) tomatoes underscore the browned
flavors.
Ingredients
Chiles Chipotles: Without these peppers, the dish is no longer tinga.
If you find the chipotles packed in vinegar, use them but don’t stir in
any vinegar from the can. If only dried ones are available, toast them
lightly on a hot griddle, soak until soft, then stem, seed, slice and add.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Tinga can be made in 1ВЅ hours. It improves with age: Prepare it
through Step 4, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat slowly,
then garnish as described in Step 5.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Shredded Pork Tinga for Filling: Complete Step 1, using 1ВЅ pounds
pork and shredding the cooked meat rather than breaking it into pieces.
Prepare the tomatoes (Step 2), then brown the onion and pork
thoroughly in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the
garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano, simmer 5
minutes, then add the broth, chipotle peppers and adobo from the can,
and simmer until thick. Season with salt and sugar.
CONTEMPORARY VARIATIONS
Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Tinga: Prepare the recipe as directed in
Steps 2 through 4, ignoring references to pork and substituting poultry
broth for pork broth. Bone 8 chicken thighs, then charcoal-grill them,
basting with olive oil, until done, 20 to 25 minutes. Spoon the coarse,
smoky sauce over them and garnish with diced avocado, diced fresh
cheese and onion rings.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 393
MEAT IN RED-CHILE SAUCE
Carne con Chile Colorado
CHILE CON CARNE: Detestable food that under the
false Mexican title is sold in the United States [of America],
from Texas to New York.
—DICCIONARIO DE MEJICANISMOS
[author’s translation]
When it’s made on Mexican soil and the name chile con carne is
flipped around, I doubt the venerable Mexican dictionary writers
describe the dish as “detestable” in the least. No, the Northern
Mexican carne con chile colorado is a good, simple dish—mild, dried
chiles mellowed with garlic and sparked with cumin—and it’s so
routinely served up on Northern plates and in Northern tacos and
burritos that the rest of Mexico wonders if the cooks there know
anything else. I once asked a Yucatecan woman, working in a Los
Angeles tortilla factory with a bunch of Northern Mexicans, about
the filling in the factory’s tamales. She whispered, “With these folks,
you can have carne con chile or chile con carne. Take your pick.”
I’ve always smiled at the Texan claim of inventing “chili.” I won’t
argue that it’s their regional specialty, but the practice of cooking
dried chiles with meat was in full gear when the Spaniards met the
first American Indians. Of course, the Northern Mexican versions
may seem simplistic to the Texans, who use chile anchos, occasionally
tomatoes or beans, and almost always a gaggle of spices and a good
draw of beer.
This recipe is one I learned from a restaurant cook in Chihuahua,
and it can be featured as an informal main course, accompanied by
flour tortillas and Frijoles Refritos or a salad. To drink, beer or Jamaica
“Flower” Cooler; and for dessert, Custard Ice Cream.
YIELD:
about 3ВЅ cups, 4 servings
8 medium (about 2ВЅ ounces total) dried chiles de la tierra or
New Mexico/California chiles, stemmed seeded and deveined
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
ВЅ medium onion, roughly chopped
394 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1 teaspoon dried oregano
ВЅ teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1ВЅ tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1ВЅ pounds lean, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1. The chiles. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium and tear
the chiles into flat pieces. Toast them on the hot surface a few at a
time, pressing them down firmly with a metal spatula for a few
seconds, until they crackle and change color, then flipping them
over and pressing down for a few seconds more. Cover the chiles
with boiling water, weight down with a plate to keep them submerged, soak 30 minutes, then drain and reserve 1 cup of the soaking
liquid.
2. The sauce base. Transfer the chiles and reserved liquid to a
blender jar. Add the garlic, onion and oregano. Pulverize the cumin
seeds in a mortar or spice grinder, and add to the chile mixture.
Blend until smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve.
3. Frying the meat. Heat the lard or oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Dry the pork on paper towels, then lay it in the hot skillet
in an uncrowded single layer. Fry until the meat is nicely browned,
about 10 minutes, turning it and scraping the pan frequently.
4. Simmering. Add the chile puree to the pan. Continue to fry for
4 or 5 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom frequently, until
the puree is very thick and noticeably darker.
Scrape the mixture into a medium-size saucepan, stir in the salt
and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, partially cover and simmer over
medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour,
until the meat is very tender; if the sauce thickens beyond the consistency of heavy cream, add a little more water. Taste for salt, and
the simple stew is ready to serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 395
Hand-blown goblets, Tlaguepague
396 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Using Chile-Soaking Liquid: The soaking liquid of most chiles is
discarded to eliminate excess astringency from the dish. Here it is not
so astringent, and some of it is used to underscore the forthright flavors
of light-colored chiles, cumin and garlic.
Ingredients
Chiles de la Tierra: Though the similar, light-skinned colorГ­n seems to
be the most-used chile in Chihuahua, all the recipes I’ve collected call
for the richer chile de la tierra. The New Mexico chile pods grown a few
hundred miles away are similar and may be substituted one for one.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow 2 hours to complete the dish; your active involvement will be
only about 30 minutes. The dish may be completed 3 or 4 days ahead,
covered and refrigerated; it improves with a little age. Reheat slowly
in a covered pan.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Northern-Style Red-Chile Sauce Without Meat: Complete Steps 1 and
2, then fry the sauce base in 1ВЅ tablespoons lard or oil over
medium-high heat, until thick. Stir in 2 cups beef broth, partially cover
and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Season with salt. For a thicker sauce,
add 2 tablespoons masa harina with the broth.
Carne con Chile Colorado for Fillings: Prepare the recipe as directed,
cutting the meat into smaller pieces. Simmer uncovered until fairly
thick, then whisk in two tablespoons masa harina.
A Sonoran Chile Colorado with Powdered Chile: Toast 6 New
Mexico/California chiles (they’re similar to the chile colorado in Sonora)
and pulverize in a spice grinder (or substitute 4 or 5 tablespoons
store-bought powdered New Mexico chile without spices). Fry the
meat as directed in Step 3, reduce the heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon
flour and 3 cloves garlic (peeled and minced), and stir 2 minutes. Add
3 cups water and stir until it reaches a boil. Stir in the powdered chile,
1 teaspoon oregano, 1ВЅ tablespoons vinegar and ВЅ teaspoon salt;
simmer 45 minutes.
A NEARLY
TRADITIONAL
VARIATION
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 397
Chile con Carne with a Nod Toward Texas: Complete Steps 1 and 2,
substituting 5 chiles anchos for the other pods, omitting the onion and
increasing the cumin to 1ВЅ teaspoons. Coarse-grind or chop 2 pounds
of beef chuck, brown it in several batches in rendered beef suet or oil
over medium-high heat. Return all the meat to the pan, add the sauce
base and stir for several minutes, then scrape into a saucepan, add the
salt, and 2 cups water (or 1ВЅ cups beef broth and ВЅ cup beer). Simmer,
partially covered, until the meat is tender. Just before serving, thin
with a little water or broth, stir in 2 tablespoons masa harina and let
simmer until nicely thickened.
SAVORY GOLDEN
COUNTRY RIBS WITH
AVOCADO RELISH
Carnitas con Guacamole
CARNITAS: Fried and seasoned meats in tacos and snacks
that are commonly sold in street side fry stands, and that constitute
a true menace to health, though they are absolutely delicious.
—DICCIONARIO DE MEJICANISMOS
[author’s translation]
In Mexico City’s suburb of Tlalpan, there is a row of purveyors along
Avenida Insurgentes, where you can see clearly how pork becomes
delicious carnitas. Every part of the pig emerges from wide copper
caldrons, half-boiled and half-fried, with a golden appeal. The flesh
is soft and moist, the exterior has a savory browned chewiness. On
warm Sunday afternoons, these carnitas places capture the spirit of
outdoor, hearty, informal eating.
What you find commercially crisped into carnitas are huge chunks
of pork, ones that can be sliced like a roast; at home, small pieces fit
the pan better, but I don’t like serving the small ones for a main
course. So I’ve developed this country ribs carnitas dinner that does
very nicely when you can’t visit the rustic Mexican carnitas stands.
Add some Frijoles Refritos, a big salad and plenty of Salsa Mexicana,
hot tortillas, beer, tea or soda pop. This is the perfect spot for hot
fudge sundaes, or at least warm Goat-Milk Caramel over ice cream.
398 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ pounds carnitas, 4 servings
2ВЅ pounds thick, meaty, pork country ribs
For the slow-fry method:
2 pounds lard (or enough to cover the meat)
Вј cup water
The zest (green rind only) of 1 lime, removed with a vegetable
peeler in wide strips
Coarse salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
For the boil-then-fry method:
Water to cover the meat
ВЅ teaspoon salt, plus a little coarse salt for sprinkling on before
serving
For serving:
About 2 cups (2/3 recipe) Chunky Guacamole with all of its
garnishes
1. The meat. Trim off all but a thin layer of fat from the pork.
2. The slow-fry method. Melt the lard in a large (4-quart), heavy
saucepan over medium-low heat. When it has melted but is not yet
very hot, add the pork, water and lime zest. Cook with the lard at
a gentle simmer, turning the pork occasionally, for about 40 minutes,
until it is barely tender. Raise the heat to medium-high. If all of the
water hasn’t yet evaporated, the lard will come to a rolling boil,
which will eventually diminish into small bubbles as the water
evaporates. After the change occurs, the carnitas will need about 10
minutes to brown. Watch them carefully and remove when they are
a light golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
The boil-then-fry method. Place the meat in a single layer in a wide,
heavy saucepan, add enough water to cover the meat by ВЅ inch,
measure in the salt and set over medium heat. Simmer, partially
covered, turning the pork occasionally, until the meat is barely
tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high
and quickly boil away the liquid.
When you hear the meat begin to fry in its own rendered lard
(once the water is gone), turn the heat down to between medium
and medium-low. Let the pork fry, turning frequently, until evenly
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 399
browned, about 30 minutes. Remove the ribs from the pan, drain
on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.
3. Serving. While the meat is cooking, prepare the guacamole,
scoop it into a serving bowl and garnish. Serve the crispy ribs on a
warm serving platter and pass the guacamole to eat along with them.
Or cut the meat off the bones and roll with the guacamole into tacos.
400 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Slow-Frying Technique: Don’t be alarmed by adding water to the
melted lard: It ensures that the lard stays at a low temperature long
enough for the pork to become tender. When it evaporates, the
temperature gradually rises and the meat browns. This method
produces the best-textured, most delicious carnitas.
Boil-Then-Fry Technique: This simple, less-involved alternative is
really just well-browned, tender-simmered pork. If there is virtually
no rendered fat when the liquid has evaporated, add enough lard to
coat the pan nicely.
Judging the Doneness: For both techniques, simmer the meat slowly
at first, just until tender; then move quickly on to browning. If you
overcook the meat at either stage, you can wind up with dryish, tough
ribs.
Ingredients
Lard: Use a good brand, preferably one that is open-kettle rendered.
This method of cooking is hard on lard, but it can be strained and used
for 3 or 4 future batches of carnitas before it must be discarded; store
it very tightly covered in the refrigerator.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow about 1ВЅ hours to prepare the carnitas (a little longer for the
boil-then-fry method); there is little active involvement. The meat can
be prepared several days in advance, then heated uncovered in a 350В°
oven until hot and crispy.
Regional Explorations
I’ve taken tortilla-wrapped bites of carnitas in every region of the
country (though they’re perhaps most famous in West-Central Mexico,
especially Michoacán), and always, it seems, it’s happened in
memorable roadside stands, market stalls or open-air eateries with
beautifully spotlighted displays of golden meat and chicharrones.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 401
Carnitas
CHARCOAL-GRILLED
PORK LOIN WITH
RICH RED-CHILE SAUCE
Lomo de Puerco en Adobo
During part of the time I was cooking at Lopez y Gonzalez restaurant
in Cleveland, I worked with a woman from Mexico City whose ways
with an orange-flavored baked pork loin adobado met up with our
charcoal grill to bring about this dish—one of our consistently popular offerings.
Unlike the homier stewed-meat version (see variation recipe) or
my co-worker’s pot-roasted loin with only a little sauce, the meat in
this recipe is marinated in rich, red-chile adobo, then charcoal-grilled
and sauced with more adobo that has been simmered separately with
orange juice.
Serve a first course of Shrimp-Ball Soup with Roasted Peppers,
then warm tortillas and a Cress and JГ­cama Salad with the pork, and
Almond Flan for dessert: There could be no better eating. Personally,
I’d like to drink a rich, soft red wine like Merlot or a fruity Zinfandel
with the pork; the nonalcoholic Sparkling Limeade is also good.
YIELD:
6 servings, with about 3 cups of sauce
402 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
For the sauce:
8 medium (about 4 ounces total) dried chiles anchos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
ВЅ medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
12/3 cups broth (preferably pork), plus a little more for
thinning the sauce
A scant ВЅ teaspoon cumin seeds (about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
1 bay leaf
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
Вј teaspoon dried thyme
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Sugar, about 1 tablespoon
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
For the meat:
2 to 3 pounds lean, boneless pork loin, with only a thin cap
of fat on one side
For the garnish:
ВЅ cup meaty green olives, preferably manzanillos
Several pickled chiles jalapeГ±os, store-bought or homemade
1 slice of onion, broken into rings
Several slices of orange
1. The chiles. Tear the chiles anchos into flat pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of the lard or oil in a medium-size skillet over medium, then
quick-fry the chiles a couple of pieces at a time, toasting them for a
few seconds on each side. Drain well, cover with boiling water,
weight with a plate to keep them submerged and let soak for several
hours or overnight to rid them of any harshness.
2. The onions and garlic. In the same skillet, fry the onion and garlic
over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about
8 minutes. Scoop out, draining as much fat as possible back in the
pan, and place in a blender.
3. Pureeing, frying and simmering the adobo sauce. Drain the chiles,
squeezing them gently to remove all the soaking liquid. Add to the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 403
onions along with 2/3 cup of the broth. Grind the cumin and bay
leaf in a mortar or spice grinder and add them to the blender along
with the oregano, thyme and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Blend until
smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of lard or oil in a large saucepan
over medium-high. When quite hot, add the chile puree and stir
nearly constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is a thick, deep-burgundy
mass.
Stir in 1 cup of the broth and the orange juice, partially cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Season with sugar and salt, then cool.
4. Marinating the pork loin. Mix together Вј cup of the cooled adobo
sauce and the remaining 4 tablespoons of vinegar; cover and refrigerate the rest of the adobo sauce. If your pork loin consists of 2 pieces
tied into a double thickness for roasting, untie them, then place in
a noncorrosive container, pour on the sauce-vinegar mixture and
coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, turning the meat
in the marinade several times.
5. Grilling the meat. About 2 hours before serving, remove the meat
from the marinade and set out to warm to room temperature. Build
a charcoal fire and let it burn until only medium-hot. Position the
grill about 6 inches above the coals and brush it with a little oil.
When the fire is right, remove the pork from the marinade and
lay it on the grill, fat-side down. Turn it periodically until it feels
firm and reaches an internal temperature of about 150В°; the cooking
will take roughly 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Set the cooked meat on a wire rack over a plate and let it rest in a
low oven while you heat the sauce.
6. Garnish and presentation. Warm the adobo sauce in a small
saucepan, thinning it with a little broth, if necessary, to achieve a
light consistency (like moderately thin barbecue sauce). Taste for
salt and sugar. Thinly slice the meat, then lay the slices overlapping
on a warm platter. Spoon the sauce over the top and garnish with
the olives, chiles, onion rings and orange slices. Serve immediately.
404 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Dried ancho chiles
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 405
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Long-Soaking the Chiles: The longer soaking removes the harshness
and bitterness that can plague pure-chile sauces.
Charcoal-Grilling the Pork, Judging Doneness and Letting It Rest:
Fires can vary widely in their heat, so timing here is difficult to
estimate; but remember that slow-cooking produces the juiciest pork.
A thermometer is by far the most reliable judge of doneness; if none
is available, feel the resiliency of the meat—it should be firm but not
stiff or hard. Letting the cooked pork rest for a few minutes allows
time for the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat, so they don’t run
out when the meat is cut.
Correcting the Consistency of the Sauce: Chiles don’t bind like starchy
nuts or flour. If the sauce is simmered until too thick, liquid will
separate from the solids. Blending a slice of bread with the chiles will
give the sauce a little more body.
Ingredients
Chiles Anchos: I have tasted adobos made with guajillos and their
cousins, but they lack the richness of anchos.
Timing and Advance Preparation
All told, the dish takes about 2 hours to prepare, though soaking and
marinating requires that you start at least a day ahead. The meat may
marinate for several days, and the sauce keeps well for 4 or 5 days,
covered and refrigerated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Adobo as a Stew: This shows up all around Mexico (save YucatГЎn),
containing everything from rabbit and chicken to kid, beef and
armadillo. For rabbit: Brown a 3-pound rabbit (cut into serving pieces)
in oil, then simmer in salted water with mixed herbs and bay leaves
until tender (30 to 45 minutes). Prepare the sauce as described in Steps
1 through 3, using rabbit broth where broth and juice are called for;
optionally, add 1 canned chile chipotle to the drained chiles. Simmer
the rabbit in the finished sauce 15 minutes before serving. Garnish
with onion rings, diced avocado and radish roses.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Charcoal-Grilled Game Hens in Adobo: Prepare 3 medium (1Вѕ-pound)
game hens for grilling, as described for chicken. Complete the recipe
406 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
as directed, substituting the hens for the pork and poultry broth for
pork broth. Charcoal-grill the hens over a medium-low fire until tender,
20 to 25 minutes, basting frequently with olive oil. Split them in half
and serve each half with a ladle of warm sauce and a sprinkling of the
garnishes.
A Showstopper Buffet
Because I think char-grilled pork is such a beautiful, easy-to-serve
dish, I’ve developed a buffet around it. Start with Masa Boats (Sopes,
and Jamaica Sangria or Margaritas; then serve small cups of Fresh Corn
Chowder to your guests as an ambulatory appetizer. Set the buffet
with Shrimp in Toasted Garlic, your pork loin, unsauced Cheese
Chiles Rellenos and a Mixed Vegetable Salad. Serve good crusty bread,
lots of tortillas and plenty of beer (or even a dry, fruity red wine like
Zinfandel and a full-flavored, fruity white wine like Chenin Blanc).
For dessert: Pineapple Flan, Creamy-Fresh Coconut Dessert and/or
fresh fruit.
SLOW-STEAMED GOAT OR LAMB WITH MILD
CHILE SEASONING
Birria de Chivo o de Carnero
Birria is the West-Central cousin of the Central barbacoa—the specialoccasion, pit-cooked lamb in maguey “leaves.” And for the most
flavorful version of birria, lamb or goat is spread with chile paste
and baked tightly covered to roast and steam in its juices. Birria
vendors have come up with special pots and ovens to replicate the
earth pits their forefathers made, and many (especially in Guadalajara) have done away with the maguey wrappers—relying exclusively on the chiles for added flavor.
This typical recipe, from one of the Guadalajara birria vendors,
uses the slow-cooking juices for a delectable, brothy sauce flavored
with oregano and tomato. Where the vendor used a special oven,
I’ve called for a Dutch oven sealed with masa, as recommended in
Velázquez de León’s Viajando por las cocinas de las provincias de la
RepГєblica Mexicana. Like pot roast, birria needs to be featured at a
special, informal dinner: serve it with hot tortillas, preceded by
Chunky Guacamole; ice cream with warm Goat-Milk Caramel would
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 407
be a nice dessert. To drink: beer, perhaps a red wine like Zinfandel,
or Tamarind Cooler.
YIELD:
about 6 servings
One 5-pound piece young goat, perferably a hindquarter
OR one 3-pound bone-in lamb roast from the shoulder or
butt-end of the leg
12 large (about 3 ounces total) dried chiles guajillos, stemmed,
seeded and deveined
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
A scant Вј teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous Вј teaspoon
ground)
A scant ВЅ teaspoon black peppercorns (or about Вѕ teaspoon
ground)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pound fresh masa
OR 1Вѕ cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
hot tap water
1 ripe, large tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and peeled
OR Вѕ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
1 small onion, chopped into 1/8-inch dice
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped
2 small limes, quartered
1. The meat. Trim most of the fat from the meat (it is strong-tasting);
if it is a goat hindquarter, cut into 2 pieces with a cleaver, severing
it through the joint at the top of the leg. Place in a large noncorrosive
dish.
2. The chile marinade. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium.
Tear the chiles into flat pieces and toast them a few at a time, pressing
them against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they crackle
and blister, then flipping them over and pressing them again. Cover
with boiling water, weight with a plate to keep them submerged
and soak 30 minutes. Roast the garlic on the hot griddle or skillet,
turning frequently, until soft inside and blackened outside, about
15 minutes. Cool and peel.
408 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Drain the chiles and place in a blender jar with the garlic and
vinegar. Pulverize the cumin and peppercorns in a mortar or spice
grinder, and add to the blender along with the salt and Вѕ cup water.
Blend until smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve. Remove ВЅ cup, stir in the sugar, cover and set aside for the final glazing.
Spread the rest of the chile paste over the meat, cover and refrigerate
for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
3. Slow-steaming. Preheat the oven to 325В°. Set a roasting rack into
a deep, wide kettle or stockpot; if it doesn’t sit at least 1 inch above
the bottom of the pot, prop it up on custard cups, tin cans or the like.
Measure in 3 cups of water, then lay the marinated meat on the rack
and spread any remaining marinade over it.
Add water to the masa (or masa harina mixture) to make a soft
dough. Roll tennis ball—size pieces between your palms to make
Вѕ-inch ropes, then press them gently all around the top edge of your
pot. Set the lid in place and press it into the masa to seal. Bake for 3
hours.
4. Finishing the broth. Break the seal by tapping the hardened masa
with the back of a cleaver or mallet, and take off the lid; then carefully
remove the tender meat. Take out the rack, spoon the fat off the
broth, then measure it. You need at least 1 quart—if necessary, add
water to bring it to that level. Pour the broth into a small saucepan.
Puree the tomato in a blender or food processor, add it to the broth
along with the oregano, cover and simmer over medium-low heat
for 20 minutes. Season with salt.
5. Glazing and serving the birria. Shortly before serving, remove the
bones, large pieces of gristle and excess fat from the meat, keeping
the pieces of meat as large as possible. Set the meat on a baking sheet,
brush lightly with the reserved chile-paste glaze, then bake for 10
minutes to set the glaze.
Either present the meat on a large platter and pass the warm broth
separately, or slice the meat across the grain and serve it in deep
plates, awash in the broth. Mix the onion and fresh coriander, and
pass it with the lime at the table.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 409
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Moist-Roasting in a Sealed Pot: This method approximates the
techniques of the Mexican pit barbecues by having steaming liquid
below the meat and a slight pressure from the sealed pot. The pressure
and moisture help tenderize the meat of tough animals without drying
it out. Some birria makers don’t bother with sealing the pot, but I like
the effects and the burst of aroma when the top is removed.
Ingredients
Meat: Birria is made with the stronger-flavored, tougher cuts or
varieties of meat. Goat is available in many Greek, Middle Eastern
and Latin American markets and lamb can be purchased nearly
everywhere.
Chiles: The large guajillo-like chilacates frequently used for birria in
Guadalajara are similar to our New Mexico variety; you may substitute
9 of the latter for the guajillos. Or use 6 anchos as they would in the
version from Zacatecas.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start marinating the birria at least 8 hours ahead; roasting takes about
3 hours and final preparations require 45 minutes. Your active
involvement will be less than 1ВЅ hours. The dish may be completed
2 or 3 days ahead through Step 4: Cover and refrigerate the meat and
broth separately. Shortly before serving, wrap the meat in foil, heat it
in the oven and heat the broth in a covered pan on the stove top.
Complete Step 5 as directed.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Lamb Shank Birria with Chipotle and Tomatillo: Prepare the recipe
as directed, substituting 3 pounds of 1-inch-thick lamb shanks for the
shoulder, adding 2 canned chiles chipotles (seeded) to the guajillos when
you puree them, and replacing the tomato with 8 ounces cooked
tomatillos. Simmer the broth in Step 4, uncovered, until reduced to the
consistency of a light sauce. Serve the glazed shanks with a ladle of
sauce, a sprinkling of onion and fresh coriander and a little crumbled
toasted guajillo chile.
410 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Dried guajillo chiles
RICE, BEANS AND VEGETABLES
Arroz, Frijoles y Verduras
Sometime about seven thousand years ago, when the early Mexicans
412 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
had harvested their runner beans, they tucked away some in a cave
in Tamaulipas. As things turned out, they never returned, and we
were left a record of their earliest domesticates. When the Spaniards
arrived in Mexico, the great masses were sustaining themselves on
beans, simple boiled beans, from the large ayocotes to the tiniest black
ones. Together with the rich lard from the pigs the Spaniards
brought, those legumes became the definitively Mexican frijoles refritos—savory, thick and sprinkled with salty cheese. Still today, beans
are essential to the Mexican table: Fried ones are the automatic accompaniment to (or ingredient in) most of the masa-based antojitos,
plain soupy beans hold an old-time place in the afternoon comida,
and bean preparations turn up as regional specialties everywhere.
Rice—as in “it comes with beans and rice”—is thought by the
outside world to be on the combination plates all Mexicans have for
dinner. Rice is not native, though, nor does it necessarily come on
every plate. The grain made its way first to Spain, in the hands of
the ruling Arabs. Later, it came to the New World, but not in the
first shiploads of edibles—the Spaniards were more reliant on their
wheat, cattle, olives and grapes. But when rice finally arrived, it
found an agreeable home; it is one of the most venerable dishes on
the modern Mexican table. Served as the second course in a midday
comida, beautifully molded to accompany seafood, heaped onto a
plate in a market fonda, or, yes, mounded next to the beans on plates
in some Northern cafeterГ­as or snack shops. The latter, I defend, only
seldom occurs; combination plates really are scarce.
Vegetables, greens, squash, tomatoes and mushrooms were an
important part of pre-Columbian eating—not as accompaniments
to go alongside meat or something else, but rather, as the focus of
dishes themselves. It’s the same today: Purslane with pork, mushrooms with beef in chile pasilla sauce, cactus or romeritos with shrimp
cakes, zucchini squash with cream and cheese—they’re all filled
with fresh, simmered vegetables and they’re all main courses.
Practically the only go-with vegetables Mexico knows (besides the
little raw vegetable salad on lots of snack plates) are the green-chile
rajas that flank grilled meat or chicken, the grilled green onions in
Northern-style eateries and the common mound of fried potatoes.
In spite of what may seem a second-class status, vegetables in
beautifully fresh piles and baskets fill up Mexican markets. Some
are for sauces, like the tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, garlic and little
chiles; others are eaten raw—more as salads—like cucumbers, avocados, jícama, lettuce, cabbage and radishes. Our focus here, though,
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 413
are those that figure in cooked dishes: the round, light-green zucchinilike squash, green beans and peas, waxy boiling potatoes and
sweet potatoes, cauliflower, cactus paddles, purslane, spinach, Swiss
chard and squash blossoms.
Most all regions have the same general variety, though each uses
them in different quantities and preparations. In YucatГЎn, the squash
look like large, dark-green pattypans; there is bitter melon to roast,
little fresh black-skinned beans called espelones and white-skinned
ibes. High up in San CristГіbal de las Casas, Chiapas, the market is
alive with Indian colors and full of exotic vegetables: green-skinned
pepinos, hearts of palm, watermelonlike squash, squash runners,
wild mushrooms and Chinese-like broccoli. Toluca offers more
greens and wild mushrooms than most minds can fathom. And San
Luis PotosГ­ has the most delicious, earthy little wild potatoes called
papitas del monte.
From the ways Mexican cooks translate all these goods into substantial stews and such, one would hardly expect a Mexican cookbook to have chapters of accompaniments, as this one has. No, in
traditional cookbooks from Mexico, the bean recipes are in with the
antojitos or in a chapter called verduras—a collection of vegetablemeat stews, plus chiles rellenos, stuffed squash and hefty vegetable
puddings. Rice recipes, on the other hand, are found with the soups.
Here, I’ve pulled together in a single chapter recipes from all three
areas, because that’s how they’ll be most useful in North American
menu planning. I’ve even adapted a few of the stew recipes to use
as vegetable go-withs.
For vegetable recipes from other chapters, see “Vegetables” in the
Index.
Keys to Perfect Rice
Techniques
Choosing a Pan: A heavy, nonreactive 7- to 8-inch diameter 1ВЅ- to
2-quart pan with a tight-fitting lid is ideal for even cooking.
To Soak or Not to Soak: In Mexico, I wash off all the powdery residue
and miscellaneous debris from the market-variety rice, then soak it
(to rid it of excess starch) and dry it. In the United States, I omit that
step because the rice is cleaner, it’s sprayed with a water-soluble
coating of vitamins and I don’t think soaking adds perceptibly to
the texture.
Frying Rice: Mexican rice is made pilaf-style, that is, raw rice that
414 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
is fried, then simmered in broth. The frying cooks the kernels’ outer
coating, which means they won’t stick together. Rice that is browned
has a distinctive flavor, which is critical to authentic Mexican red
rice.
Cooking Temperatures and Times: If, after 15 minutes simmering
and a few minutes steaming off the fire, the rice isn’t done, return
it to medium-low heat, covered, for a few minutes. If the liquid has
been absorbed, sprinkle on a tablespoon of water; if the rice is damp,
cook it for a couple of minutes covered, then uncover and let some
of the moisture evaporate. (Some cooks find the even heat of an oven
more comfortable for rice cooking: After adding the liquid, bake in
a 325В° oven for 15 minutes, then steam out of the oven for about 5
minutes.) The age and type of rice will affect the cooking. Overcooked rice will have splayed ends and taste mealy.
Holding and Reheating Rice: When the rice is done, I cool it immediately rather than keep it warm (which risks overcooking it). Cooled
rice (even if cooled only to lukewarm) can be successfully reheated
slowly in a hot-water bath. Or spread it into a 1-inch layer in a baking
pan, cover with foil and heat in a 325В° oven for about 15 minutes.
Molding Rice: It is common in the Gulf and YucatГЎn for a little
dome of molded white rice to come on plates of seafood. It is easy
to do: Pack a custard cup full of warm, cooked rice, quickly invert
it over a warm dinner plate and slowly lift it off. A rice ring may be
made in a similar fashion: Pack 1 recipe of any warm rice into a 4cup ring mold, top with an up-turned serving platter, invert, then
lift off the mold. Garnish, if you wish, with the typical parsley and
slivers of pimento.
Ingredients
Rice: Though most Mexican cookbooks printed in the United States
call for long-grain rice, what I’ve found in Mexico is closer to medium-size grains. Either one works, though I like the meaty texture of
medium-grain rice.
Keys to Perfect Beans
Techniques
Discarding Floaters: Beans that float in the water generally have
air pockets that harbor dirt or mold.
Soaking: Though not common in Mexico, soaking improves the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 415
beans’ texture and digestibility. The latter is true only if you discard
the soaking liquid, says the Bean Advisory Board, because the offending oligosaccharides have been leached from the beans into the
water. Little protein, nutrition or flavor is lost in the liquid.
Tenderizing and Toughening Additives: Adding a pinch of baking
soda to the water helps to soften the beans more quickly. Too much
not only tastes bad, but “affects the nutritional value adversely,”
say the researchers. Salt, however, like all acids (tomatoes, vinegar,
chiles and so forth), keeps the beans from softening, so add salt and
acids after the beans are tender.
Cooking Times and Temperatures: If you start the beans off slowly
and keep them at a very gentle simmer, they will be beautifully whole
with good texture. Soaked beans will cook in less time than dry
ones—sometimes up to half the time.
Quick Beans: If you’re short on time, dry pintos can be ready to
eat in about 1ВЅ hours by giving them the 1-hour quick-soak described
in Step 1, then cooking them in 3 cups fresh water (along with the
onions and fat) in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Release the
pressure and check the beans: If they’re not done, simmer them until
tender (either under pressure or not). Soaked black and other hard
beans require at least 45 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker.
Ingredients
Beans: Each variety has its own vivid color and subtly different
flavor and texture. For more details on which varieties are cooked
in each Mexican region; in the United States, use what you like and
can get (go out of your way for the delicious black beans if you
haven’t tried them). Prebagged beans are generally cleaner than
ones in bulk; stored at room temperature and well sealed, they keep
a year.
a sampling of regional cazuelas
MEXICAN TOMATO- COLORED RICE
416 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
(WITH FRESH VEGETABLES)
Arroz a la Mexicana (con Verduras)
The flavors here are of nutty browned rice, tomato and good
broth—classic, familiar Mexican flavors. It’s not surprising, then,
that this red rice is found in every settlement, nor that it finds regional transformations into main courses with meat and fish.
This traditional recipe comes from Sra. Villalobos of JuchitГЎn,
Oaxaca—with a few modifications from open cazuelas and wood
fires to closed pans and gas. It is a good accompaniment to most any
main course or can be served comida corrida—style as a second course,
after the soup and before the poultry, meat or what have you; it
works fine on a buffet or, if your reflexes are so trained, can go on
the plate with beans and enchiladas, a la norteamericana.
YIELD:
about 3ВЅ cups, 4 servings
1ВЅ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long- or medium-grain rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and
peeled
OR ВЅ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
1ВЅ cups broth (preferably poultry) or water
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon if using salted broth, 1 teaspoon if
using unsalted broth or water
1 cup fresh or (defrosted) frozen peas (optional)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into Вј-inch dice (optional)
Several sprigs of fresh coriander (cilantro) or flat-leaf parsley,
for garnish
1. Frying the rice. About 40 minutes before serving, measure the
oil into a 1ВЅ- to 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Add the
rice and onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until both are lightly
browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Mix in the garlic and cook a minute longer.
2. The liquid ingredients. While the rice is frying, prepare the tomato:
Seed it, if you like, by cutting it in half width-wise and squeezing
out the seeds, then puree it in a blender or food processor. Pour the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 417
broth or water into a small pan, add the salt and bring just to a
simmer.
3. Simmering and steaming the rice. Add the pureed tomato to the
browned rice and cook for a minute, stirring several times. Add the
simmering broth, stir the rice, scrape down the sides of the pot,
cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 15 minutes, then
turn off the heat and let the rice stand 5 to 10 minutes, covered, until
the grains are tender (but not splayed).
4. The optional vegetables. While the rice is cooking, simmer the
fresh peas until tender (4 to 20 minutes, depending on their size and
freshness), then drain and set aside; frozen peas only need to be
defrosted. Separately, simmer the carrot 5 to 8 minutes, drain and
add to the fresh or defrosted peas.
5. Finishing the rice. When the rice is tender, add the optional vegetables and fluff with a fork to separate the grains and stop the
cooking. Scoop the rice into a warm serving dish, decorate it with
fresh coriander or parsley, and it is ready to serve.
418 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Notes about cooking rice.
Ingredients
Rice:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The active preparation time is about 15 minutes (add a little more if
using the vegetables), plus 25 minutes for simmering and steaming.
The rice may be made a day or two ahead, quickly cooled, covered
and refrigerated. Reheat as directed above.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Mexican Red Rice with a Variety of Flavors: One large poblano or 2
long green chiles (roasted, peeled and chopped) can be added with
the tomatoes. Or 1 large fresh tomato (peeled and chopped) and 2 or
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander can be added when the heat
under the rice is turned off.
Juchitecan Rice with Pork and Green Chile: Simmer Вѕ pound boneless
pork shoulder (cubed) in salted water until tender; drain, degrease
the broth and reserve. Complete the recipe through Step 3, adding 2
or 3 chiles jalapeГ±os (seeded and sliced) when you add the garlic, using
the pork broth for liquid, and adding the cooked pork with the broth.
Fluff and serve as a simple main course.
WHITE-RICE PILAF
WITH CORN, ROASTED
CHILES AND FRESH
CHEESE
Arroz a la Poblana
In Puebla, there has grown up a traditional juxtaposition of fresh
corn, roasted chiles poblanos and the sharp fresh cheese they call queso
ranchero (literally “ranch cheese”). A number of restaurants offer the
inspired combination in a white-rice dish that is not only an interesting melding of flavors, but useful in planning menus. Arroz a la pob-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 419
lana is beautiful as a ring or molded into mounds to serve with saucy
dishes like Duck in Pumpkinseed PipiГЎn.
YIELD:
about 5 cups, 4 to 6 servings
1ВЅ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long- or medium-grain rice
1 small onion, finely diced
1Вѕ cups broth, preferably poultry
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon if using salted broth, 1 teaspoon if
using unsalted broth
3 medium, fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled, seeded
and sliced into short, thin strips
The kernels cut from 1 large ear fresh sweet corn (about 1 cup)
OR 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
ВЅ to Вѕ cup (2 to 3 ounces) crumbled Mexican queso fresco or
other fresh cheese like feta or farmer’s cheese
Several sprigs of watercress or parsley, for garnish
1. The white rice. About 40 minutes before serving, combine the
oil, rice and onion in a 1ВЅ- to 2-quart saucepan over medium heat.
Stir frequently for about 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent
but not browned. Meanwhile, add the salt to the broth and bring to
a simmer.
Add the broth to the rice mixture along with the chiles and corn,
stir well, scrape down the sides of the pan, cover and simmer over
medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
2. Finishing the dish. When the rice has cooked 15 minutes, let stand
off the fire, covered, 5 to 10 minutes, until the grains are tender (but
not splayed). Add the crumbled cheese and toss the whole assemblage with a fork to mix the ingredients and stop the cooking.
Scoop into a serving bowl, decorate with watercress or parsley and
serve.
420 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
aged and fresh mexican cheese
(queso fresco and queso aГ±ejo)
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Notes about cooking rice.
Ingredients
Rice:.
Chiles Poblanos: These are the only chiles used in Puebla, but if
necessary, substitute 4 or 5 large long green chiles (roasted, peeled,
seeded and sliced).
Timing and Advance Preparation
The rice takes about 40 minutes, half of which won’t actively involve
you. It may be completed up to 2 days ahead, quickly cooled, covered
and refrigerated. Reheat as directed.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
White Rice with Fried Plantain: Prepare the white rice according to
Step 1, then let steam off the fire for 5 to 10 minutes. Peel and cube 2
very ripe plantains and fry them in a little vegetable oil over medium
heat until browned and sweet. Toss with the finished rice.
HERB-GREEN RICE
WITH PEAS
Arroz Verde
A number of years ago, when I was cooking with Don Ricardo and
MarГ­a Merrill in their cooking school in LeГіn, Guanajuato, Mrs.
Merrill laid out the rice rules: White rice is for christenings and
weddings, red rice gets made every day and green rice is holiday
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 421
rice—traditions I’ve heard given voice numerous times since. (The
one exception I’m aware of is that white rice is served at most meals
on the Gulf.)
Though all the cooks say they know about making green rice, it’s
only rarely offered in Mexican eating places. This recipe is based on
Mrs. Merrill’s version, and its herby, green-chile flavor is especially
delicious alongside Fish with Toasted Garlic or Charcoal-Grilled
Chicken.
YIELD:
about 4 cups, 4 to 6 servings
ВЅ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
6 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), plus a few sprigs for garnish
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus a few sprigs for garnish
2 fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled, seeded and roughly
chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
2
/3 cup broth (preferably poultry) or water
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon if using salted broth, 1 teaspoon if
using unsalted broth or water
1 cup fresh or (defrosted) frozen peas
1ВЅ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long- or medium-grain rice
1. Preparing the green-herb mixture and peas. Place the onion, celery,
fresh coriander, parsley, chiles poblanos and garlic in a small saucepan,
add 1Вј cups water, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cook until the celery and onion are tender. about 10 minutes, then
remove from the heat and let cool a few minutes until lukewarm,
covered. Puree the mixture (including liquid) in a blender or food
processor, return to the pan and add the broth or water and the salt.
Simmer the fresh peas, if using them, in salted water to cover until
tender, 4 to 20 minutes, depending on their maturity and freshness.
Drain thoroughly and set aside; frozen peas only need to be defrosted.
2. Frying the rice. About 40 minutes before serving, combine the
vegetable oil and rice in a 1ВЅ- to 2-quart saucepan over medium
heat. Stir frequently until the rice turns opaque but not brown, about
7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the broth mixture to a simmer.
3. Simmering, steaming and finishing the rice. Add the hot liquid to
422 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
the rice, stir, scrape down the sides of the pan, cover and simmer 15
minutes over medium-low heat. Let the covered pan stand 5 to 10
minutes off the fire until the grains are tender (but not splayed).
Add the peas to the pan and fluff the rice with a fork, mixing thoroughly. Scoop into a warm serving bowl, garnish with the fresh
coriander and/or parsley and serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 423
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Notes for cooking rice.
Ingredients
Rice:.
Chile Poblano: If these aren’t available, use 3 large long green chiles
(roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped); the color of the rice will be
lighter green.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Plan 1 hour to complete the recipe; active involvement is about half
of that. The rice may be made a day or two ahead, quickly cooled,
covered and refrigerated; reheat as directed.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Extra-Herby Green Rice: Prepare the rice as directed, adding 1
chile poblano (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped) when you add the
broth, and adding 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander and 1
tablespoon chopped fresh mint when you fluff the rice.
flat-leaf parsley (perejil)
424 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
BROTHY BEANS
Frijoles de la Olla
Olla: the pot, an orange-brown earthenware cooking pot. And those
who’ve tasted the beans that come from it know that the olla and
contents share an earthy exchange of flavors. Today, it is less common that the ollas do their cooking nestled in live coals; so, sadly,
one rarely finds beans that blend a slight smokiness with the clay
and elementally bland starch. Instead, the cooking is over a gas
burner and, more often than not, the clay has been replaced by
enameled metal or plain aluminum.
Thousands eat these brothy beans every day in simple market
fondas, with a stack of hot tortillas, a little coarse salt and some hot
green chiles. And they’re on hand in many Mexican kitchens, to be
doled out at a moment’s notice if hunger persists after the meal’s
main course. Even a few midday comidas corridas in old-style eateries
still offer them that way—after the stew is finished, before the pudding arrives. But because today’s progressive portions are no doubt
larger than in earlier, leaner times, the beans come to the table less
and less.
5 to 6 cups (or possibly more), serving 4 as a main dish, 6 as
a side dish
YIELD:
2 cups (about 13 ounces total) dry beans: pink, pinto, black or
another variety
2 tablespoons lard, bacon drippings or fat rendered from
chorizo sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 large sprig epazote for black beans (optional)
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
1. Rinsing and soaking the beans. Measure the beans into a colander,
pick out any tiny dirt clods or pebbles, rinse and place in a 4-quart
pan. Add 6 cups water, remove any beans that float, and let soak 4
to 8 hours, until you see no dry core when you break one open. Or
quick-soak the beans by boiling them for a minute or 2, then letting
them stand off the fire for 1 hour. Drain the beans completely.
2. Cooking the beans. Cover the beans with 6 cups fresh water, add
the lard or other fat, onion and optional epazote, and bring slowly to
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 425
a simmer. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring
occasionally, until they are fully tender, 1 to 2 hours. If you see the
beans peeking up through the liquid, add hot water to cover them
by ВЅ inch; without enough water, the beans may cook unevenly and
tend to stick on the bottom.
Season with salt, remove the epazote, and the beans are ready to
serve.
Earthenware bean pots (ollas)
426 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Notes about bean cooking.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start the beans at least 6 hours ahead (3 hours ahead if quick-soaking
them). Beans have a better texture when they’re cooled in the broth,
then reheated; all bean dishes improve in flavor with at least a day’s
age. Covered and refrigerated, beans keep beautifully for 4 days or
longer. Reheat them slowly, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Yucatecan “Strained” Beans: In a blender, puree ½ recipe cooked black
beans, with some of the bean broth or water; strain through a
medium-mesh sieve. Fry ВЅ medium onion (chopped) and a
chile habanero or other hot green chile (left whole but slit down the
side) in a tablespoon of lard or other fat until soft. Add a sprig of epazote
(if available) and the beans, bring to a boil over medium heat, stir in
enough bean broth to make a medium, bean-soup consistency, then
let simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Taste for salt. This
Yucatecan variation is served as a simple bean accompaniment to other
dishes.
Black Bean Soup: Though not very commonly served in Mexico, the
preceding variation makes a nice soup, adding, perhaps, a dollop of
sour cream or sherry, a handful of chopped green onion or chives and
some fried tortilla strips.
Regional Explorations
The color of the beans changes distinctly as you cross the country: In
the northwest, the most common bean is a yellowish, tan-skinned one
called piruano; in north-central and northeastern Mexico, the beans
are pintos (cabras); the variety in Central and West-Central Mexico is
large, but the purplish flor de mayo and tan bayo are most popular (they
are popular elsewhere as well); and in Southern, Gulf Coastal and
Yucatecan Mexico, the bean of choice is black, and nearly always
stewed with a sprig of epazote. Small white beans are available
everywhere, but are usually used in special dishes.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 427
FRIED BEANS
Frijoles Refritos
Brothy beans are undeniably humble when set next to a dollop of
rich, well-fried frijoles refritos. The two share the same beginnings,
though, and fried or not, beans do remain part of Mexico’s ages-old
nutritive foothold. That partly explains, I suppose, why fried beans
usually share the plate with the typical Mexican snacks, everywhere
from market stalls to respectable dining rooms. The other part of
the explanation, of course, is that they simply taste good: when their
texture is thick and coarse, when the pork lard is full of meaty flavor,
and when they’re dressed out with salty queso añejo and tortilla chips.
My method of making frijoles refritos calls for less fat than many
Mexican recipes. There are two drawbacks to this approach, however:
There’s not enough lard to keep them moist and shiny for long, and
they can have less flavor unless a really good-tasting fat is used. So,
please read the note on keeping fried beans warm, and use the most
flavorful fat you can lay your hands on.
YIELD:
about 2Вј cups, 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons rich-flavored pork lard, bacon drippings or fat
rendered from chorizo sausage
ВЅ to 1 small onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced (optional)
2ВЅ to 3 cups (ВЅ recipe) Brothy Beans, undrained
Salt, if necessary
3 to 4 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso aГ±ejo or queso
fresco, or cheese like mild Parmesan, feta or farmer’s cheese,
for garnish
Several tortilla chips, for garnish
1. Browning the onion and garlic. If using the onion and/or garlic,
heat the fat in a medium-size skillet over medium. Fry the onion
until browned, 8 minutes; add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Raise
the heat to medium-high. (If not using onion or garlic, heat the fat
in the skillet over medium-high.)
2. Mashing and frying the beans. Add one third of the beans and
their broth to the skillet. Mash them with the back of a wooden
spoon, a blunt-bottomed wooden “potato” masher (which in Mexico
428 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
is a bean masher) or a potato masher with holes in it. When the beans
are coarsely pureed, add the next third, mash, then add and mash
the final third. Let the beans simmer, stirring nearly constantly, until
they are thick but a little softer than you want to serve them. (They
will continue to thicken after you take them off the fire.) The entire
mashing and cooking process should take about 8 minutes. Season
with salt.
3. Finishing and garnishing the beans. Just before serving, heat the
beans over a brisk fire, stirring in a little broth or water if they have
thickened more than you’d like. Serve on a warm platter, sprinkled
with the crumbled cheese and decorated with the tortilla chips.
Mexican bean masher
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 429
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Lard or Other Fat: If, for dietary reasons, you’re not using lard or
bacon or chorizo renderings, use vegetable oil and the full amount of
onion and garlic.
Timing and Advance Preparation
With cooked beans on hand, fried beans take about 20 minutes. They
may be made up to 4 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat
them slowly in a covered pan; stir in a little broth or water to achieve
a soft consistency that holds its shape in a spoon.
A NOTE ON KEEPING FRIED BEANS WARM:
Fried beans can be kept warm and in good condition for an hour or
more if you scrape them into a heatproof bowl when they’re still a
little soft, cover and set in a pan of hot water over very low heat. If
they thicken too much, stir in a little broth or water just before serving.
A MODERN VARIATION
Fried Beans from Canned Beans: Well-rinsed canned beans can be
made into quite decent fried beans when the cook is short on time.
Prepare the recipe as directed, using a 16-ounce can of beans, 1ВЅ
tablespoons fat, ВЅ small onion (optional), 1 clove garlic (optional) and
water or broth for the bean broth. Makes 1В cups.
Regional Explorations
In Yucatán they fry their “Strained” Beans, then often roll them out
like an omelet; in Veracruz, fried black beans can come with fried
plantain; around Chihuahua, light-colored fried beans come soupy,
usually with a sprinkling of melting cheese; Oaxacan fried beans are
smooth and seasoned with avocado leaf and dried chile; and in Toluca
and Monterrey, the beans can be fried with chorizo (they make a
delicious burrito filling).
Kitchen Spanish
Refritos isn’t an adjective that means to refry, again and again, as some
may have conjectured. The re of refritos is a kind of intensifier, meaning
to do it really well or do it a lot.
BEANS WITH BACON,
ROASTED CHILE AND
430 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
FRESH CORIANDER
Frijoles Charros
After days scouring Monterrey’s charcoal-grilling establishments
that specialize in arracherra (“skirt steak”) and cabrito (“kid”), we
came across a little open-air setup with a vertical spit of pork layered
for tacos al pastor (called tacos de trompo there) and an earthenware
olla simmering over radiant coals. It wasn’t until then that I realized
how tasty the town’s ubiquitous frijoles charros (“cowboy beans”)
could be.
Here is the recipe for those typically brothy beans, with their
smoky bacon flavor, green chiles and fresh coriander. (Many printed
recipes call for pickled pork rinds and the like, but I’ve never found
them served that way.) The beans are a perfect match for most meats
off the grill, like chicken or skirt steak.
about 8 to 10 cups, serving 6 as a main course, 8 to 10 as a
side dish
YIELD:
1 pound (about 2ВЅ cups) pinto or other light-colored beans
4 ounces fatty pork shoulder, cut into ВЅ-inch cubes
8 thick slices bacon, cut into ВЅ-inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 large fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled, seeded and
chopped
2 ripe, medium-small tomatoes, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled
and chopped
OR one 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
ВЅ cup roughly chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1. Soaking the beans. Pick over the beans for any foreign pieces,
then rinse and place in a 4-quart pot. Add 2 quarts water, remove
any beans that float, and soak for 4 to 8 hours, until water has penetrated to the core of the beans. Or quick-soak by boiling the beans
for about 2 minutes, then letting them stand 1 hour. Drain the soaked
beans.
2. Preliminary cooking. Measure 2 quarts of fresh water into the pot
of beans, add the pork, bring slowly to a boil, partially cover and
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 431
simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans
are tender, 1 to 2 hours.
3. Flavorings. Fry the bacon in a medium-size skillet over mediumlow heat, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon, pour off
all but 2 tablespoons of fat and raise the heat to medium. Add the
onion and chiles and fry until the onion is a deep golden brown,
about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook until all the liquid has
evaporated.
4. Final simmering. Add the tomato mixture, bacon and salt to the
cooked beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes,
to blend the flavors. If the beans are very soupy, uncover, raise the
heat and simmer away the excess liquid. For a thicker broth, puree
2 cups of the beans (with their liquid) and return to the pot.
Just before serving, taste for salt and stir in the chopped fresh
coriander. Serve in warm bowls.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Notes for the best bean cooking.
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: When these aren’t to be had, use 3 long green chiles
(roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped).
Timing and Advance Preparation
After soaking the beans, the dish takes about 2 hours to finish, most
of which is for unattended simmering. They can be made several days
ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat slowly, then add the fresh
coriander.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Frijoles Borrachos: My favorite frijoles charros are made with the
borracho (“drunken”) addition of 1 cup beer, used in place of 1 cup
water in Step 2.
Frijoles Fronterizos: Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing the pork
with 2 tablespoons lard or bacon drippings, and the bacon with 8
ounces (1 cup) chorizo sausage.
432 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Charcoal-Grilled Corn with Cream, Cheese and Chile
CHARCOAL-GRILLED
CORN WITH CREAM,
CHEESE AND CHILE
Elote Asado
Out on a walk in practically any Mexican town, who can pass up
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 433
the always-present fresh ears of chewy field corn, turning and
crisping over the coals? Who isn’t attracted to the smoky-smelling,
pit-roasted ears (pibinales) when they’re poured from gunnysacks
in Yucatán? And who doesn’t like the fried corn kernels with epazote
and chiles in Toluca (esquites), or the ones served from big boiling
cazuelas in the capital’s Alameda Park, or the ones topped with cream,
powdered chile and cheese in the northeastern states?
Our sweet corn isn’t the same to me, boiled and buttered and
served as a summertime vegetable. It lacks a little backbone. So when
I’m having it, I usually give it the taste of an open fire, a squeeze of
lime and a sprinkling of hot powdered chile…or the lavish spread
of butter, cream and cheese of this recipe. Serve it anytime you’re
grilling, and you’ll please practically everyone.
YIELD:
6 servings
6 ears fresh sweet corn, in their husks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
About ВЅ cup Thick Cream or commercial sour cream mixed
with a little milk or cream
1
/3 cup crumbled Mexican queso aГ±ejo or queso fresco, or cheese
like Parmesan, feta or farmer’s cheese
About 1 tablespoon hot powdered chile (see Ingredients in
Cook’s Notes)
1. Preliminaries. About an hour before serving, place the ears of
corn in a deep bowl, cover with cold water and weight with a plate
to keep them submerged. Light your charcoal fire and let it burn
until the bed of coals is medium-hot; adjust the grill 4 inches above
the fire.
2. Grilling the corn. Lay the corn on the grill and roast for 15 to 20
minutes, turning frequently, until the outer leaves are blackened.
Remove, let cool several minutes, then remove the husks and silk.
About 10 minutes before serving, brush the corn with melted butter,
return to the grill and turn frequently until nicely browned. Serve
right away, passing the cream, cheese and powdered chile for your
guests to use to their own liking.
434 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Soaking in Water, Roasting in the Husk: The preliminary soaking
keeps the outside from burning right off the bat and the inside damp
enough to steam. First roasting in the husk penetrates the corn with
leafy flavor, but the step is often omitted—especially with sweet corn.
Ingredients
Corn: The meaty, nonsweet field corn used in Mexico can be prepared
as directed; those who like no-nonsense eating will love the texture.
Powdered Chile: Powdered chile de ГЎrbol is the cayenne of Mexico. My
favorite choices, though, are powdered guajillo and New Mexico
chile—they’re less hot, so I can put more on.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start soaking and fire building an hour before serving. There is little
else to do in advance; if you plan to have your charcoal fire going for
a long time, you may complete the in-husk steaming well ahead of
the final grilling.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fresh Corn, Fried (Esquites): In Toluca and Mexico City the corn is
occasionally prepared as follows: Cut the kernels from 6 cobs, then
fry in 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil (or butter) with hot green
chile to taste (seeded and sliced) and 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped
epazote. Season with salt.
ZUCCHINI WITH
ROASTED PEPPERS,
CORN AND CREAM
Calabacitas con Crema
It is well known to most North Americans who’ve traveled in Mexico
that vegetables as a side dish are rarely to be found. The country
seems to be filled with exceptionally carnivorous public eaters,
though in the privacy of their homes most of them are used to whole
meals of vegetables stewed with chiles and other traditional flavors,
with only a scrap of meat thrown in, perhaps. (Mexican cookbook
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 435
writers often include recipes for these homey vegetable dishes, frequently exaggerating the size of the meat scraps, I think.)
This recipe comes from the cafeterГ­a that we lived above in Mexico
City, where it was served as a main dish—without any meat whatsoever. In addition to featuring it as a light main course with tortillas
and a salad, I use it as a side dish for the one-pot Juchitecan Rice
with Pork or with any of the sauceless grilled meats.
YIELD:
about 2 cups, 4 servings
1 pound (4 small) zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into ВЅ-inch
cubes
1 scant teaspoon salt, plus a little more to season the sauce, if
necessary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
The kernels cut from 1 large ear fresh sweet corn (about 1 cup)
OR 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 fresh chile poblano, roasted and peeled, seeded and sliced
into thin strips
ВЅ medium onion, thinly sliced
2
/3 cup Thick Cream or whipping cream
1. “Sweating” the zucchini. In a colander, toss the zucchini with the
salt; let stand over a plate or in the sink for ВЅ hour. Rinse the zucchini, then dry on paper towels.
2. Cooking the vegetables. Heat the butter and oil over medium-high
in a skillet large enough to hold the zucchini in a single layer. When
quite hot, add the zucchini and fry for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is browned and just tender. Remove the
zucchini, draining as much butter and oil as possible back into the
pan. Reduce the heat to medium.
Add the corn kernels, chile and onion. Stir regularly until the
onion is lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Finishing the dish. A few minutes before serving, stir in the cream
and the zucchini and simmer for a few minutes, until the cream is
reduced to a thick glaze. Add a little salt, if necessary, scoop into a
warm dish and serve.
436 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
“Sweating” the Zucchini: Because our zucchini is more watery and
bitter than the tennis ball—size, light-green squash common in Mexico,
I usually salt and “sweat” zucchini (to draw out the bitter liquid) before
cooking.
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: When you cannot find any, use long green chiles
(roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced).
Timing and Advance Preparation
After the ½ hour “sweating,” the dish takes 25 to 30 minutes to
complete. Steps 1 and 2 may be done early in the day you’re serving;
when cool, mix all the vegetables together, cover and refrigerate until
1 hour before serving.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Zucchini with Cream and Chicken or Cheese: For a light main course,
quick-fry 2 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (dredged in flour)
in a little vegetable oil until just cooked through; remove and cut into
1-inch cubes. Or cube 6 to 8 ounces fresh or melting cheese like
Monterey Jack or mild cheddar. Prepare the recipe as directed, adding
the chicken or cheese at the last minute, giving it time to heat through
or soften slightly. Serve with Pueblan Rice or Green Rice.
QUICK-FRIED ZUCCHINI WITH
TOASTED GARLIC AND LIME
Calabacitas al Mojo de Ajo
Though not traditional, I’ve combined the typical toasted garlic
preparation mojo de ajo with quick-fried zucchini. For those who
crave vegetables and want a sauceless, typically Mexican-tasting
preparation to serve with their Mexican dinners, this is my recommendation. It goes well with most of the saucier main dishes like
smoky Pork Tinga or Green Pumpkinseed Mole.
YIELD:
4 servings
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 437
1 pound (about 4 small) zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into
ВЅ-inch cubes
1 scant teaspoon salt, plus a little more to season the finished
dish, if necessary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
A generous Вј teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
ВЅ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Sweating the zucchini. In a colander, toss the zucchini with the
salt; let stand ВЅ hour over a plate or in the sink. Rinse the zucchini,
then dry on paper towels.
2. Browning the garlic and frying the zucchini. About 15 minutes before serving, heat the butter and oil over a medium-low heat in a
skillet large enough to hold the zucchini in a single layer. Add the
garlic and stir frequently until light brown, about 3 minutes. Do not
burn. Scoop the garlic into a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl,
then scrape the strained butter mixture back into the pan; set the
garlic aside. Raise the heat to medium-high.
Add the zucchini to the pan and fry, stirring frequently, for 8 to
10 minutes, until browned and tender but still a little crunchy. Remove from the heat.
3. Finishing the dish. Add the lime and toasted garlic; toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with the pepper, oregano and parsley, then mix,
taste for salt and serve in a warm dish.
Spiny and smooth chayote squash
438 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
“Sweating” the Zucchini:.
Browning the Garlic:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
When the zucchini has sweated for ВЅ hour, Steps 2 and 3 can be
completed in 20 minutes. The sweating may be done early in the day
you are serving, but finish Step 3 just before serving.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Chayotes al Mojo de Ajo: The squashlike chayote that in Mexico is
often stuffed or put in stews is great with garlic: Peel, pit and slice 2
large (1ВЅ pounds total) chayotes and use in place of the zucchini. In
fact, steamed green beans, carrots, broccoli and asparagus are all good
al mojo de ajo: Simply prepare the garlic, add the cooked vegetable and
flavorings to the pan and toss until warm.
SWISS CHARD WITH
TOMATOES AND POTATOES
Acelgas Guisadas
Here is another of the typical vegetable dishes that are often cooked
with a little pork or chicken. This tasty, homey preparation, based
on one from Rodriguez’ La comida en el México antiguo y moderno, can
serve as anything from a light main dish (with cubes of fresh cheese
stirred in at the last moment), to a vegetarian taco filling or an accompaniment to simple broiled or charcoal-grilled meat, poultry or
fish. Swiss chard, one of the most common greens in Mexico, has a
good texture and a flavor that’s a little fuller than spinach, so it works
beautifully in this kind of preparation. Though frequently stewed
for a long time, it seems to have the best texture when just wilted,
as I’ve directed.
YIELD:
about 2ВЅ cups, 4 servings
1 tablespoon lard, vegetable oil or butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 439
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (about 1 chile serrano or ВЅ chile
jalapeГ±o), stemmed, seeded, deveined and thinly sliced
1 ripe, medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and
peeled
OR ВЅ 15-ounce can tomatoes, drained
2 medium-small (about 8 ounces total) boiling potatoes like
the red-skinned ones, cut in Вѕ-inch dice
ВЅ cup any poultry or meat broth or water, plus a couple
tablespoons more if necessary
4 leaves epazote (optional)
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon
ВЅ bunch (about 4 ounces) small Swiss chard, stems cut off and
leaves sliced crosswise in 1-inch strips
1. The flavorings. In a medium-size saucepan, heat the lard, oil or
butter over medium. Add the onion and chile, and cook, stirring
frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, 7 or 8 minutes.
Roughly chop the tomato, add it to the pan and cook for 3 or 4
minutes longer, to reduce the liquid a little.
2. The potatoes. Stir in the potatoes, broth, optional epazote and salt.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender,
about 10 minutes. Check the amount of liquid: If most has been
consumed, add a little more broth; or, if it is very soupy, quickly
boil it down, uncovered, until only Вј cup is left.
3. Steam-cooking the chard. Mix in the chard, cover and cook over
medium heat until the greens are tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover
and taste for salt. There should be enough tomatoey broth to coat
the vegetables. Serve right away.
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
The dish takes ВЅ hour to make. Steps 1 and 2 can be done a day ahead,
covered and refrigerated. Reheat just before serving, then finish Step
3.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Pork with Swiss Chard: Boil 1/3 to ВЅ pound cubed pork in salted
water until tender, about 45 minutes. Prepare the recipe as directed,
using the pork broth in Step 2 and adding the meat with the chard.
440 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
CHARCOAL-GRILLED BABY
ONIONS WITH LIME
Cebollitas Asadas
I can’t imagine eating slivers of charcoal-grilled meat wrapped in
tortillas and dashed with hot sauce (Tacos al CarbГіn, without also
wanting the requisite plate of grilled overgrown green onions.
They’re so simple, so sweet and smoky that I can’t understand why
we didn’t have them with our summertime steaks when I was
growing up. We do now.
YIELD:
6 to 8 servings
3 bunches large green onions (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large limes, cut into wedges
Salt, as desired
1. Preliminaries. About 45 minutes before serving, light your
charcoal fire and let it burn until medium-hot. Cut the roots off the
onions, trim ВЅ inch off the tops, and pull off any withered outer
layers.
2. Grilling the onions. Position the grill 4 to 6 inches above the coals;
fold a square of aluminum foil in half and lay it on one side of the
grill. Lightly brush the onions with oil, then lay them on the grill,
bulb-side over the coals and green-side over the aluminum foil. Grill,
turning frequently, for 7 to 12 minutes (depending on the size of
your onions), until the bulbs are browned and the green tops soft.
Remove to a warm serving platter, squeeze a couple of lime wedges
over them and sprinkle with salt. Serve with the remaining lime
wedges to the side, for those who want more.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 441
Fresh-dug white onions (cebollas)
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Grilling over Foil: Laying the green tops over foil on the grill protects
them from burning while the bulbs roast and sweeten directly over
the coals.
Ingredients
Green Onions: Our small green onions aren’t as common in Mexico
as a larger variety with a bulb about 1 inch across—perfect for grilling
without softening too quickly. In Chicago, they are often called knob
onions. Everyday green onions (a.k.a. scallions in the East) work OK,
but choose the largest ones so there is a sizable chunk of white bulb
to bite into.
Timing and Advance Preparation
There is little to do: Just build your fire and grill the onions. They can
be held for a few minutes in a low oven.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Griddle-Fried Onions: Green onions are delicious browned over
medium heat in a little vegetable oil (or, for extra flavor, in bacon
drippings). Thick slices of white or red onion can be done the same
way, but they’re best brushed with oil and done over hot coals.
442 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
ROASTED PEPPERS WITH
ONIONS AND HERBS
Rajas de Chile Poblano
When the chiles have been charred over glowing charcoal, gently
fried with browned onions, then simmered with garlic, herbs and
cream—there isn’t a Mexican who wouldn’t call it simple, traditional
perfection. I’ve called for these rajas (they’re substantial enough to
be called a vegetable) numerous times throughout the book: on a
plate of Steak a la TampiqueГ±a, with grilled meat for Tacos al CarbГіn,
to stuff Central Mexican—Style Tamales and in many of the variation
recipes. The single word rajas, by the way, simply means “strips,”
though Mexican cooks always seem to understand it to mean “strips
of green chile.” What other kind could there be?
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
4 medium, fresh chiles poblanos, roasted and peeled
1ВЅ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced Вј inch thick
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2
/3 cup Thick Cream, whipping cream or broth
ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (such as thyme, oregano and
marjoram)
2 bay leaves
Salt, about ВЅ teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the
broth)
1. The chiles. Stem and seed the chiles; for milder rajas, cut out the
veins. Slice the chiles crosswise into Вј-inch strips.
2. Frying the vegetables. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-size
skillet over medium. Fry the onion, stirring frequently, until it begins
to brown, 7 or 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chile strips and cook
2 minutes.
3. The simmering. Add the cream or broth, the herbs and bay leaves,
and simmer until the liquid has reduced to a light coating for the
vegetables; the simmering should go quickly enough that the chiles
don’t get too soft before the liquid has reduced. Remove the bay
leaves and season with salt.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 443
fresh poblano chiles
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Chiles Poblanos: Rajas can be (and are) made from most any locally
available fresh chiles: frequently it’s 6 of the common long green ones
or 7 of the occasionally available chilacas (roasted and peeled). When
adventure dashes all concerns for authenticity, any big meaty pepper
(fresh pimentos, red or green bells, cubanelles) will work. They can
all be delicious.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Rajas can be ready in 25 minutes or less. They keep well, covered and
refrigerated, for several days. Reheat them slowly in a covered pan.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Rajas as a Vegetable: Prepare the recipe as directed, adding the kernels
cut from 1 ear of corn (1 cup) or ВЅ pound steamed green beans (ends
snipped) along with the cream or broth.
Rajas with Tomatoes, for Filling Tamales: Prepare the recipe as
directed, omitting the herbs and replacing the cream or broth with
one 15-ounce can tomatoes (drained and pureed). Season with salt
and cool before using.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
My Favorite Rajas: Roast, peel, seed and slice 2 poblanos and 2 small
red bell peppers. Fry the onions (Step 2), using olive oil. Stir in the
pepper strips, 4 cloves of roasted garlic (minced), 3 tablespoons each
cream, beef broth and white wine, and 2 bay leaves; simmer until the
liquid is nearly consumed. Add the salt, a little fresh thyme and a good
sprinkling of black pepper.
DESSERTS
Postres
The scope and sphere of Mexican sweet things is still a puzzle to
me. “Order a flan,” I hear the tourists whisper. “It’ll be safe.” Safe,
as opposed to the potential spoonful of something thick and gooey
and called cajeta, or a chunk of pumpkin cooked in dark, spicy syrup.
Still, I find myself looking forward to the dessert tables at dressier
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 445
traditional restaurants, to exploring the thick, sweet spoonfuls of
almost macaroonlike cocada, the soft custard of natillas, the syrupy
curds of chongos, or the thick-textured, jellied guava paste (ate) with
fresh cheese. It is an exploration in a way, for the desserts are difficult
for North American eyes to categorize. None seem to have that familiar crust or the cakey layers; or, if they do, there’s no chocolate
or nicely cooked apples or rich buttercream. The ever-present flan
comes the closest to home, its comforting baked custard bathed with
light caramel; the well-known rice pudding is generally there, too,
though few make that choice in a nice restaurant. So the non-Mexicans pass over the Mexican desserts, they tell me, and go right on to
their coffee or an after-dinner brandy, KahlГєa or anisette.
All the differences aside, Mexican desserts really are a deliciously
varied lot. Nearly all of them trace their heritage to Spain—whether
puddings, custards, candies or some seemingly improbable combination of all three. In fact, the entire concept of desserts—the postdinner segregation of tangential sweet things—is a European one
that apparently had no pre-Columbian equivalent. For the ruling
Indian empire, sweet and savory were tastes to be intermingled, as
they once were in medieval Europe; and just as the European ways
of thinking were modified, so were the Mexican.
The greatest credit for this sweetening of Mexico goes to the
Spanish nuns, whose custom was to prepare and sell sweetmeats to
generate money for their orders. They brought to Mexico not only
their milk, egg yolks, sugar and almonds, but the knowledge of how
to turn them into the custards, puddings and candies that still remain
the national favorites. And adding all the New World fruits and
nuts to their list of dessert-making ingredients certainly increased
their already-large repertory.
Every region of Mexico knows the handful of classics that are
nearly always served at table: the custards (be they flan, jericalla and
queso napolitano), the rice pudding, the syrup-poached fruit and the
occasional cheesecakelike pay de queso. All are familiar with fruit ices
and ice creams, too, but only in Oaxaca or the Gulf do they create a
special interest; even there, the frozen treats are more for a snack
than a respectable “dessert.” The same is true of fried plantains:
While they’re popular, they’re usually viewed as snacks in the coffee
shops—as are the pies.
When it comes to the candied sweets, however, they are the source
of great regional pride. They’re carried onto buses and into cars by
departing visitors. They’re enjoyed with everyday regularity, set on
446 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
tables for dessert after a big midday comida or for something to go
with cafГ© con leche in the evening. Everywhere, some regional version
of the national sweets are a favorite street food: milk fudge, coconut
candies, nut brittles and chunks of candied sweet potato, pumpkin
or bisnaga cactus.
Though Puebla is recognized as the candy capital of Mexico—from
its camotes de Santa Clara (mashed, sweetened, flavored sweet potato)
to its pepita milk fudge and fragile nut shortbread (polvorones sevillanos)—four other areas certainly stand out: Morelia, Michoacán, for
its tender fruit “jellies” (ates) and chewy little sheets of caramel
(morelianas); San CristГіbal de las Casas, Chiapas, for its sweet shops
with a seemingly infinite variety of coconut candies, cookies, tiny
turnovers, egg-yolk candies, boxed fruit pastes (cajetas) and the
preserved fruits in alcohol; Oaxaca, for its cakey sweets made with
light-textured manГіn, and meringues, puff-pastry turnovers with
custard (empanadas de lechecilla) and coconut—raw sugar bars (jamoncillo de coco); and Mérida, Yucatán, for its pumpkinseed marzipan.
Sweet snacks are special holiday snacks, too. Where there are
Spaniards, there will be the delicious turrones at Christmas, usually
imported from Spain. I’ve been fascinated by the fanciful molded
sugar skulls, coffins and miniature plates of enchiladas, fruit and
the like that fill the markets during the Day of the Dead celebrations
in early November; they’re set on the home altars in memory of the
deceased and his or her earthly likings. Special breads are made for
that day, too: Some are round shapes with dough modeled into
drooping crossbones on top, others are pointed, oblong shapes meant
to represent the spirits. Near the time of Three Kings Day, when the
children receive presents, most of the bakeries are overflowing with
rings of egg bread with candied fruit and a little doll somewhere
inside; tradition has it that the one who gets the doll gives a party
February 2. Oaxaca at Christmas is without doubt one of life’s
greatest pleasures, from the elaborate radish-carving festival and
Christmas Eve parade to the paper-thin fritters (buГ±uelos) that are
served every night on the square. Of course, every town has its
festival, every town has the sweets it enjoys.
In deciding on recipes for this chapter, I trained one eye on the
regional Mexican sweet things and another on my dinner table. I
looked everywhere, from the street stalls to the fanciest traditional
eateries, to come up with this mixture of classics, local specialties
and a couple of personal adaptations of Mexican originals—all of
them sweets that make good desserts on my table, offering a pleasant
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 447
resolve after a full-flavored Mexican meal. And most of them are
light as well; all of them are welcome.
VANILLA-FLAVORED
CARAMEL CUSTARD
Flan
The traditional recipe I’ve outlined below is based on the standard
from Veláquez de León’s Mexican Cook Book Devoted to American
Homes: creamy-smooth and rich, with a good amount of vanilla and
lots of caramel. Many cooks nowadays use sweetened condensed
milk for their flan and their results are not unlike the reduced-milk
version of this older recipe. When I want a really light
dessert—which I often do after a spicy meal—I make the variation
with unreduced milk and all whole eggs; for special occasions, there
is almond, pineapple or spirited flan. Besides being a sure winner,
any flan is an easy and nice-looking dessert.
YIELD:
10 servings, in 10 individual molds or 1 large one
For the milk reduction:
2 quarts milk
1 cup sugar
For the caramel:
1 cup sugar (2/3 cup for a large flan)
1
/3 cup water (Вј cup for a large flan)
For finishing the custard:
6 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Reducing the milk. Bring the milk and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a
large saucepan. Regulate the heat so the mixture simmers briskly
without boiling over; stirring regularly, let reduce to 1 quart, about
45 minutes.
2. The mold(s) and hot-water bath. Set 10 custard cups or a large
mold (see Equipment in Cook’s Notes) in a baking pan deep enough
448 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
to hold 2 inches of water. Put a teakettle of water on to heat, preheat
the oven to 350В° and position the rack in the middle.
3. The caramel. Measure the appropriate amount of sugar into a
small, heavy saucepan, dribble in the corresponding amount of
water (first around the sides, then over the sugar), and stir several
times. Bring to a boil, wash down the sides of the pan with a brush
dipped in water, then simmer over medium heat, without stirring,
until the syrup begins to color. Swirl the pan continually over the
fire until the syrup is an even deep amber. Immediately pour the
caramel into the mold or divide it among the custard cups, then tilt
the mold or cups to distribute it over the bottom and sides.
Lining flan mold with caramel
4. The custard. Beat the eggs, yolks and vanilla in a large bowl until
liquidy. Slowly beat in the hot reduced milk, strain through a finemesh sieve (to remove any membranes or milk “skins”), then pour
into the mold(s).
5. Baking the flan. Fill the baking pan containing the custard(s) with
2 inches of simmering water, cover lightly with foil and bake until
the custard has just set (a knife inserted near the center will come
out clean), about 30 minutes for the individual molds, 40 to 50
minutes for a large one. Remove from the oven and let cool in the
water bath (the custard will set completely as it cools).
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 449
6. Unmolding the flan. For the best results, thoroughly chill the
cooled custard(s). Run a non-serrated knife around the edge, penetrating to the bottom, then twist the dish back and forth to ensure
that the custard is free from the mold. Invert a deep serving plate
over the top, reverse the two and listen for the flan to drop. Individual custards may need a gentle shake from side to side to release any
suction holding them in. If there still is caramel on the bottom of the
mold, either scrape it out onto the flan, or set the mold in very hot
water (or over a low fire) until it softens enough to pour out.
Traditional flan
450 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Baking: Overbaking, the most common pitfall, results in a Swiss
cheese—looking exterior and curdy, watery custard.
Unmolding: It is not tricky: The caramelized sugar melts into a liquid
lining for the mold, allowing the custard to slip right out.
Equipment
Molds: For the custard to bake evenly and look nicest, choose an 8-inch,
2ВЅ-quart souffle dish. The most common mold in Mexico, however,
is a 5- to 6-ounce custard cup.
Ingredients
Vanilla:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
For best results, start a large flan the day before serving, small ones
at least 6 hours ahead. Preparation time is about 1 hour, plus 30 to 50
minutes of baking. Flan can be baked several days ahead, covered and
refrigerated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Almond Flan: For a rich, nutty-tasting, cheesecakelike texture, add 6
ounces (11/3 cups) finely ground blanched almonds to the reduced
milk (Step 1) and simmer 2 or 3 minutes until thickened. For the
smoothest texture, blend (lightly covered) for several minutes.
Complete and pour into small molds; bake about 40 minutes, leaving
uncovered for the first 20 minutes. If you like, add 1 teaspoon almond
extract to the custard.
Pineapple Flan: Caramel and pineapple are a very good match. Replace
the milk with 1 quart unsweetened pineapple juice (or strained fresh
pineapple puree); heat with the sugar (Step 1) but don’t reduce.
Complete and bake as directed, flavoring the custard with ВЅ teaspoon
ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves.
A Very Light-Textured Flan: Prepare as directed, using 1 quart milk
and 8 whole eggs. Simply warm the milk with the sugar, rather than
reducing it.
Flan with Condensed Milk: Dilute one 14-ounce can sweetened
condensed milk with 2Вј cups milk, then warm it and use in place of
the reduced milk in Step 1; canned milk gives a distinct taste, however.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 451
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
My Favorite Flan: Prepare as directed, simmering the milk (Step 1)
with a 2-inch cinnamon stick and adding 2 teaspoons each KahlГєa and
dark Jamaican rum along with the vanilla (Step 4). After unmolding,
splash the flan with a little KahlГєa or rum.
Regional Explorations
Most regions have their own custard specialties: In Guadalajara, the
custard is soft, yellow with yolks and baked in a cup until the top
browns (jericalla). In the Gulf, the flavor moves past the common vanilla
and cinnamon to add orange, coconut or almond. In YucatГЎn and
vicinity, a dense, rich, almost cheesy-tasting flan is the choice
(queso napolitano). And here and there some fresh cream cheese goes
in to give substance to the light custard.
CREAMY FRESHCOCONUT DESSERT
Postre de Cocada
Sitting on the dessert table at the famous Fonda el Refugio restaurant
in Mexico City, amidst the brilliantly colored paper flowers, there’s
nearly always a green-glazed, MichoacГЎn-style leaf-shaped serving
bowl that’s filled with golden cocada. Its lightly browned top gives
way to dense, fresh coconut held together with just a little rich custard. “Pudding” is really the wrong word to describe this dessert;
“macaroon in pudding form” may be closer.
Since coconuts are readily available throughout Mexico, many
places commonly serve a preparation similar to this one, especially
restaurants in Central Mexico. The following recipe is based on one
from María A. de Carbia’s México en la cocina de Marichu, though I’ve
made it a little creamier to duplicate the version at Fonda el Refugio.
It is very good and rather elegant in small portions after a big meal,
but is equally at home on a picnic.
YIELD:
6 to 8 servings
1 medium (1Вѕ-pound) fresh coconut with lots of liquid inside
1 cup sugar
452 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
1ВЅ tablespoons good-quality sweet or dry sherry
6 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons milk or whipping cream
ВЅ cup (about 2 ounces) sliced almonds
1ВЅ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1. The coconut. Hull and peel the coconut as directed, reserving
and straining the liquid. Grate the meat (it should be medium-fine).
2. Cooking the coconut. Measure the coconut liquid and add enough
tap water to bring the total quantity to 1 cup. Place the grated coconut
in a medium-size, heavy saucepan, stir in the liquid and sugar and
set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the coconut
becomes transparent (it will look almost candied) and the liquid has
reduced to a glaze, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the sherry and cook for
3 or 4 minutes longer, to evaporate its liquid, then remove from the
fire.
3. Thickening the cocada. Beat the yolks with the milk or cream, stir
in several tablespoons of the hot coconut, then carefully stir the
warm yolk mixture into the coconut remaining in the pan. Return
to medium-low heat and stir constantly until lightly thickened, about
5 minutes. Scrape the cocada into an ovenproof serving dish.
4. Browning the finished cocada. Spread the almonds onto a baking
sheet and toast in a 325В° oven until lightly browned, about 10
minutes.
Shortly before serving, heat the broiler. Dot the cocada with butter,
run under the heat and let brown for a minute or so. Watch carefully:
The sugar in the cocada will caramelize very quickly. Strew with the
toasted almond slices and the dessert is ready to serve.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 453
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Thickening the Cocada: After the egg-yolk mixture goes into the hot
coconut, make sure the heat under your pan isn’t too high, or the yolks
can curdle. In no case should the coconut mixture come near a boil.
Ingredients
Coconut: See information on choosing and working with fresh
coconuts. Desiccated coconut is inappropriate here.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If you work quickly, the coconut can be prepared in 45 minutes
(including the initial 15 minutes in the oven); 45 minutes more and
the cocada will be ready. It may be completed through Step 3, covered
and refrigerated for 2 or 3 days. Let it warm to room temperature,
then brown shortly before serving.
MEXICAN RICE
PUDDING
Arroz con Leche
This dessert is softer and more cinnamony than our baked rice
pudding. The flavors are simple and close to home, but it’s easy to
develop a thoroughgoing love for it, spoonful after spoonful….
Mexican people everywhere serve it as regularly as they do flan; it’s
creamy and, in its own way, light and soothing.
This is an especially pretty and tasty recipe, based on one from
Zelayarán’s Las 500 mejores recetas de la cocina mexicana. It would be
welcome after a hearty soup like Menudo or Shrimp-Ball Soup; it
travels well to pot-lucks. Leftovers, thinned with milk and warmed,
are very good for breakfast.
YIELD:
8 to 10 servings
2 inches cinnamon stick
A 2-inch strip of lime zest (colored rind only), Вѕ inch wide
1 cup rice
1 quart milk
454 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Вѕ cup sugar
Вј teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
ВЅ teaspoon vanilla extract
Вј cup raisins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits Ground cinnamon,
for garnish
1. The rice. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan,
add the cinnamon stick and lime zest, then cover and simmer over
medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour in the rice, let the mixture return
to a boil, stir once, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for
20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
2. The pudding. Stir in the milk, sugar and salt, and simmer over
medium to medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid
shows the first signs of thickening, 20 to 25 minutes. Take from the
heat and remove the cinnamon stick and zest. Beat the egg yolks
until runny, stir in the vanilla and a few tablespoons of the hot rice,
then stir the yolk concoction back into the rice mixture. Mix in half
the raisins, then spoon the rice pudding into a decorative 8-inchsquare baking dish.
3. Browning and finishing the pudding. Preheat the broiler and dot
the rice pudding with butter. Set the dish under the heat long enough
to brown the top, 3 or 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining raisins
and the ground cinnamon, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 455
Cinnamon sticks (canela)
456 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Thickening the Rice: In Step 2, the mixture should be simmered only
until the milk takes on a slight creaminess (it will still look soupy).
Overcooking will give you something dense and unapproachable.
Should the latter be your fate, stir in a few tablespoons of milk just as
you’re about to serve, dot with butter and brown again.
Ingredients
Vanilla:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The rice pudding can be ready in an hour, much of which won’t involve
your direct participation. It may be prepared through Step 2 a day or
two ahead, then buttered and broiled shortly before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Coconut-Rice Pudding: Prepare the rice as directed in Step 1. Hull,
peel and grate a fresh coconut, reserving the coconut liquid. Add
enough milk to the coconut liquid to bring the volume to 1 quart.
Complete Steps 2 and 3, using the milk-coconut mixture where milk
is called for and stirring half the grated coconut into the rice pudding
when you add the yolks. Sprinkle a little coconut over the pudding
before browning.
Regional Explorations
Rice pudding brings to my mind the volatile, chancy crowd of Mexico
City’s Garibaldi Square, where this dessert, only one of the attractions,
sits in huge, milky masses stuck with a raisin or two for decoration.
Or sometimes I’m reminded of the well-used walkways around the
Oaxacan market, where ladies sell it in paper cups at sundown. Or I
picture any of a dozen other typical scenes: from rude, makeshift street
stands to well-appointed traditional restaurants—where arroz con leche
is the thing you have.
SWEET FRESH-CHEESE PIE
Pay de Queso
Anywhere a cheesecake is welcome, you can serve this pay de queso.
It’s rich with fresh cream cheese, but light, sweet and often studded
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 457
with raisins. In fact, it’s even lighter and more elegant than most of
our cheesecakes, and I think it goes particularly well with an untraditional spoonful of pureed fresh fruit.
This recipe for pay de queso—a dessert known in nearly every
cafetería in the country—is based on one given to me in Tabasco,
where loaves of dense, delicious cream cheese are a specialty. After
more than a dozen experiments, I came up with proportions that
utilize our “natural” cream cheese and still retain that wonderful
texture of my favorite version of this pie—the one at Mexico City’s
famous sweets shop DulcerГ­a de Celaya. My only regret is that our
cream cheese doesn’t taste as cheesy.
YIELD:
one 9-inch pie, 6 to 8 servings
For the crust:
5 slices (4 ounces) firm white bread, untrimmed
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
For the filling:
1 pound “natural” (no gum additives) cream cheese, at room
temperature (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
Вѕ cup sugar
Вј teaspoon salt, plus a little more for the egg whites
Вј teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
ВЅ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1. The crust. Pulverize the bread in a blender or food processor;
there should be about 12/3 cups. Combine the crumbs and sugar in
a bowl. Melt the butter with the shortening, then pour over the
crumbs and mix well. Pat into an even layer in a 9-inch pie pan. Chill
20 to 30 minutes.
2. The filling. Preheat the oven to 375В° and position the rack in the
upper third. Place the cheese in a food processor or electric mixer,
add ВЅ cup of the sugar, Вј teaspoon salt, the cinnamon, flour, vanilla
458 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
and egg yolks, and process or beat until very smooth. If using a food
processor, scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Using a large wire whisk or an electric mixer at medium speed,
beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold a firm peak,
then beat in the remaining Вј cup of sugar at half-minute intervals,
1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until they hold a stiff, shiny
peak again. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese batter, then
gently fold in the remainder in 2 additions. Scoop into the crust.
3. Baking. Immediately set the pie in the oven. Bake 5 minutes,
then lower the heat to 325В° and bake 25 minutes; turn off the oven
and let the pie cool for 15 minutes with the door closed. Remove
from the oven and cool completely before serving. It will have puffed
and browned during baking, but will settle to its original height as
it cools.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 459
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Cheese: “Natural” cream cheese—without locust-bean (or other)
gum—is similar to the Mexican queso crema; I’ve found Fleur de Lait
brand distributed nationally. Our common cream cheese makes a
much heavier pie. A very mild domestic goat cheese or the German
quark (or what’s often called baker’s cheese) will also work here.
Vanilla:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The pie takes about 40 minutes to put together, 40 minutes to bake
and an hour to cool. It can be baked a day ahead, covered lightly (plastic
wrap has a tendency to stick) and refrigerated. Bring to room
temperature before serving; it doesn’t cut well when cold.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Sweet Fresh-Cheese Pie with Pine Nuts and Raisins: Toast 2
tablespoons pine nuts for 10 minutes at 325В°; cool them, then toss with
3 tablespoons raisins and 1 teaspoon flour. Fold into the batter with
the last addition of egg whites and bake as directed.
Regional Explorations
The old shop opened in 1874 on Fifth of May Street in Mexico City,
down by the Cathedral, and it’s still filled with muted lights, etched
windowpanes, an old oak case with curved glass and a stunning
arrangement of exquisite crystallized fruit and old-style candies: Each
piece is a jewel. Half of one shelf of DulcerГ­a de Celaya is devoted to
sweets to eat on a plate rather than out of hand—what we’d call
desserts. It’s there you can taste the really good chongos (tender curds
in sweet whey), flan and old-fashioned cakelike egg-yolk squares
called huevos reales (“royal eggs”). And at the Dulcería fresh-cheese
pie reaches its pinnacle.
PECAN PIE WITH RAW
SUGAR AND SPICES
Pay de Nuez
Though you’ll find them in nearly every little cafetería and in many
restaurants, pies (or the homophonous, Spanish-spelled pay) are a
460 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
recent addition to the Mexican dessert repertory. The choice seems
always the same: lime meringue, apple, sweet fresh-cheese and
pecan—the latter being one of my favorites, in spite of the fact that
(or perhaps because) it tastes a lot like those north of the border.
Since pecan pie is so popular in Mexico (and since pecans are
native to the New World), I developed this special version that features Mexican raw sugar and typical Mexican spicing. I think you’ll
really like the result…though I’m sure less traditional Mexicans
would consider my project of Mexicanizing pecan pie rather unprogressive.
YIELD:
one 9-inch pie, 6 to 8 servings
For the crust:
1 cup (4ВЅ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lard, well chilled and cut into ВЅ-inch bits
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into ВЅ-inch
bits
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon ice water, plus a little more if necessary
1
/8 teaspoon salt
ВЅ teaspoon sugar
For the filling:
4ВЅ ounces piloncillo, chopped
OR 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar plus 1ВЅ tablespoons
molasses
ВЅ cup clear corn syrup
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
8 peppercorns, very coarsely ground
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons Thick Cream or commercial sour cream
1ВЅ cups (about 5Вј ounces) pecan halves or pieces
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
Вј teaspoon salt
ВЅ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 461
1. The dough. Measure the flour, lard and butter into a bowl. With
a pastry blender, quickly work in the fat until the flour looks a little
damp (rather than powdery) but small bits of fat are still visible.
Mix together 1 of the egg yolks, the ice water, salt and sugar; reserve the remaining egg yolk for Step 3. Little by little, work the icewater mixture into the flour mixture with a fork. The dough will be
in rough, rather stiff clumps; if there is unincorporated flour in the
bottom of the bowl, use the fork to work a little more ice water into
it. Press the clumps of dough together into a single mass, wrap in
plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
Transfer to an 8-inch pie pan or 9-inch tart pan (Вѕ inch deep, with
removable bottom), finish the edge (crimp for a pie pan, pinch up
and press to secure on the vertical edge of the tart tin), then trim off
the excess dough. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
2. The filling. Place the piloncillo (or brown sugar and molasses),
corn syrup, cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns into a small
saucepan. Measure in 1/3 cup water, cover and place over mediumlow heat. After the mixture has come to a simmer, uncover and stir
until the piloncillo has dissolved. Simmer over medium heat until
reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve,
add the diced butter and cream, and stir until the butter is melted.
Let cool, stirring occasionally.
Heat the oven to 325В° and position the rack in the middle. Spread
the pecans over a baking sheet and bake until toasted through, 10
to 15 minutes. Remove and cool.
Whisk together the egg, 2 egg yolks, salt, vanilla and flour. Stir
into the cooled sugar-spice mixture.
3. Prebaking the crust. Heat the oven to 425В°. Prick the bottom of
the crust at 1-inch intervals, then bake until set and very lightly
browned, about 10 minutes. Check the crust every couple of minutes:
If it slips down in any spot, press it back into place with the back of
a spoon; if it bubbles up, prick it with a fork to release the steam.
Beat the remaining egg yolk to break it up, then brush it over the
crust, carefully sealing up all the holes. Cool the crust to lukewarm.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325В°.
4. Finishing the pie. Spread the pecans over the crust, then pour on
the filling mixture, coating all the nuts. Bake about 35 minutes, until
the filling is slightly puffed and no longer jiggles about when the
pie is gently shaken. Cool to completely set the filling, then serve.
462 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Unrefined sugar (piloncillo)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 463
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Pastry Making: For a tender, flaky crust, follow these guidelines: Have
everything cool (even refrigerate the flour if the kitchen is hot); work
the fat into the flour quickly and evenly, but stop while you can still
see tiny bits; once you’ve added the liquids, don’t overwork the dough
(pressing the tines of a fork through the flour will be sufficient); don’t
add too much water (a wet dough will turn out tough); always use a
light touch; and don’t omit the chilling (the dough will be hard to
work with if you do).
Prebaking the Crust: The crust is prebaked to avoid any sogginess. If
my unweighted prebaking isn’t your style, butter a piece of lightweight
aluminum foil, lay it (butteredside down) directly on the crust, fill
with raw rice, beans or the like, then prebake the crust without worry
of sliding or puffing. Remove the foil and weights after 10 minutes,
then bake several minutes to dry out. Omit the glazing; cool.
Ingredients
Lard and Butter: I’ve developed this recipe using both: Lard gives
imcomparable tenderness; butter gives incomparable flavor. Don’t
substitute one for the other or vegetable shortening for both; it won’t
work in these proportions.
Piloncillo: If using large (9-ounce) cones of this raw sugar, you’ll need
½ of a cone; if using small (¾-ounce) cones, you’ll need 6 of them.
Vanilla:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Allow 20 minutes to prepare the pastry and 1 hour (or up to 3 days)
to let it rest. In 45 minutes the pie can be in the oven; allow ВЅ hour for
baking and 1 hour for cooling. It is best eaten within half a day of
baking, rewarmed.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Walnut Pie with Honey: Prepare the pie as directed, decreasing the
corn syrup to 7 tablespoons, adding 1 tablespoon honey with the corn
syrup and replacing pecans with walnuts.
MEXICO’S GOLDEN,
464 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
CARAMELY CAJETA
The heavy-set son ushered us down a narrow hallway toward a 15gallon, hammered copper pot (the traditional cazo used for candy
making) filled to the brim with today’s goat milk. As we moved past
it, the passage opened onto a narrow room with a 2-foot-high,
bricked-in stove along one side. There, four more huge cazos boiled
over strong gas jets. A barrel of sugar stood nearby with a wooden
paddle propped up beside it; in the small bottling room at the end
was a shelf that held baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla and alcohol,
plus glass bottling jars in sizes from a cup to a quart.
The family’s task was to transform the rich-tasting goat milk into
a fudgey-consistency, sweet, golden syrup known as cajeta, the
specialty of their hometown, Celaya, Guanajuato. The baking soda,
I learned, was what helped it to brown, the cinnamon, vanilla and
alcohol gave it the different flavors the customers wanted. To my
taste, theirs was the best I’ve had: soft and rich without all the glassy
glucose of the industrialized variants; full with the taste of goat milk
and browned milk solids without the strength of added caramelized
sugar. At the small Cajeta Vencedora factory and shop in Celaya,
the family would even mold the cajeta into flimsy wooden cajas
(“boxes”), the old-fashioned way to sell the sticky stuff and what
gave it its name.
The bottled cajeta that is sold nationwide (even in the United
States) is a far cry from the original cajetas of fruits and nuts that
were cooked with sugar to a thick, preservable consistency, packed
into boxes and kept for special occasions. Only in the abundant
candy shops of San CristГіbal de las Casas, Chiapas, have I still seen
them selling little oval boxes filled with a dark, sticky cajeta made
of peach or quince, or of sugar and egg yolks.
Hammered copper cooking vessel (cazo)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 465
GOAT-MILK CARAMEL
WITH SPIRITS
Cajeta de Leche Envinada
One Mexico City restaurant makes a rich, warm pudding of caramely
cajeta and serves it in a bowl; the more typical variety (like this recipe
adapted from Cajeta Vencedora) is a little too sweet to put out like
that. Many Mexicans I know eat it spread on waferlike MarГ­a cookies,
and the chain ice cream places swirl it into the frozen confections.
(I even enjoy it warm over ice cream, like hot fudge.) But the
dressiest way to serve cajeta is with crepes, as they do in many of
the fancier traditional restaurants: The buttery crepes and toasted
nuts are a perfect foil for the wonderful caramel. The crepe recipe
that follows the one for cajeta is based on the version served at the
comfortably elegant San ГЃngel Inn in Mexico City.
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ cups
1 quart goat milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick
Вј teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon grain alcohol
OR 1 tablespoon sweet sherry, rum or brandy
1. The initial mixture. In a large (at least 4-quart), heavy-bottomed
saucepan or kettle, combine the milk, sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Dissolve the baking soda in 1
tablespoon water, remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the soda
mixture; it will bubble up, so have a spoon ready to stir it down.
2. Boiling the caramel. Return the pan to the fire and adjust the heat
so the liquid simmers at a steady roll. Stir regularly as the mixture
reduces. When the bubbles start changing from small, quick-bursting
ones to larger, glassier ones—in 25 to 40 minutes—reduce the heat to
medium-low. Stir frequently and thoroughly, washing the spoon
each time, until it thickens into a caramel-brown syrup that’s a little
thinner than corn syrup.
3. Finishing the cajeta. Strain the cajeta through a fine-mesh sieve
466 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
into a small bowl or wide-mouthed jar. Let cool a few minutes, then
stir in the alcohol. Cool completely before covering.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Cooking the Cajeta: There’s little danger of scorching during the initial
reduction. You must, however, stand beside the pot for the final few
minutes of cooking.
Testing the Cajeta for Doneness: The syrup should have a little body
when hot and be very thick—almost unpourable—at room temperature.
To double-check the consistency, simmer the mixture until thick
enough that you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir quickly
through it, then remove it from the fire, put a couple of drops on a cold
plate and let cool a moment. Should these drops turn out stiff when
cool, reheat the cajeta and stir in a little water; if runny, continue
simmering.
Ingredients
Goat Milk: Look for it in many grocery stores and most health-food
stores. You can use cow’s milk, but the taste is noticeably different.
Equipment
Cajeta-Cooking Pans: The larger and heavier, the better. Enameled
cast iron works nearly as well as the traditional copper pot.
Timing and Advance Preparation
You’ll need about an hour to prepare the cajeta, some of it for
unattended simmering. It keeps for months, covered and refrigerated.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 467
Buttered Crepes
with Cajeta and
Pecans
BUTTERED CREPES WITH CARAMEL AND
PECANS
Crepas con Cajeta
YIELD:
4 servings
468 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
For the crepes:
ВЅ inch cinnamon stick (or about ВЅ teaspoon ground)
3 cloves (or a big pinch ground)
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
Вј teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
ВЅ teaspoon vanilla extract
2
/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
For finishing the dish:
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup (about 3ВЅ ounces) pecans, roughly chopped
About 1ВЅ cups (1 recipe) Goat Milk Caramel, at room
temperature
1. The crepe batter. Pulverize the cinnamon and cloves in a mortar
or spice grinder, then place in a blender jar or food processor with
all the remaining crepe ingredients except the butter. Process until
smooth, stopping the machine once to scrape down the sides. With
the machine running, pour in the 1 tablespoon melted butter. Set
aside to rest for 2 hours. Before using, thin with a little water, if necessary, to the consistency of heavy cream.
2. Making the crepes. Set a 7-inch skillet or crepe pan (see Equipment
in Cook’s Notes) over medium to medium-high heat and brush very
lightly with oil. When quite hot, pour in about Вј cup of the batter,
quickly swirl it around to coat the bottom, then immediately pour
the excess (what hasn’t stuck) back into the blender jar.
Cook until the edges begin to dry, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Loosen
the edges with a knife and trim off the irregular part (where you
poured off the excess batter). Using your fingers or a narrow spatula,
flip the crepe (it should be golden brown). Cook about a minute
longer, until golden brown underneath, then remove to a plate.
Continue making crepes in the same manner, greasing the pan from
time to time and stacking the finished crepes (there should be at
least 12) on top of one another; cover with plastic wrap.
3. Toasting the pecans and filling the crepes. Melt the 8 tablespoons
butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 469
pecans and stir frequently for about 10 minutes, until the nuts are
toasted and the butter is browned. Remove the nuts with a slotted
spoon and set the skillet of browned butter to one side of your work
space.
Lay out a crepe, prettiest-side down, brush with the browned
butter and spoon a scant tablespoon of cajeta on one side. Fold in
half and press gently to spread out the filling. Brush the top with
butter, fold in half to form a wedge and brush with butter again.
Lay in a buttered, decorative baking dish. Repeat the buttering and
filling with 11 more crepes, arranging them, slightly overlapping,
in two rows in the baking dish. Cover with foil and scrape the remaining cajeta into a small saucepan.
4. Finishing the dish. About 20 minutes before serving, preheat the
oven to 325В°. Bake the crepes for 10 minutes to warm them through.
Heat the remaining cajeta over medium-low. Drizzle it over the warm
crepes, strew with the nuts and serve at once.
470 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Crepe Making: Letting the batter stand produces better-textured crepes;
if it is too thick, the crepes won’t be delicate. The pan should be hot
enough to make a thin (but not tissue-thin), even layer stick when the
batter is swished over it. A pan that’s too heavily oiled won’t let
anything stick. Should some of the crepes turn out crisp, they will
soften after being stacked with the others and covered with plastic.
Ingredients
Vanilla:.
Equipment
Crepe Pans: I’ve used steel ones, Teflon, the back of my aluminum
omelet pan: They all work. But my favorite is a well-seasoned, 7-inch
cast-iron skillet. It has remarkably steady heat and requires almost no
oil.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start the batter 2 hours ahead; it takes an hour to make and fill the
crepes. The dish may be completed through Step 3 a day ahead,
wrapped and refrigerated. Rewarm to room temperature, then
complete Step 4. If the crepes are layered with waxed paper and
covered with plastic, they may be refrigerated for 3 or 4 days.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Crepes with Cajeta and Plantain: Brown 2 ripe plantains (cubed) in 2
tablespoons butter over medium heat. Strew over the warm crepes,
along with the pecans. Shaved chocolate is a nice (untraditional)
garnish.
BUTTER-FRIED PLANTAINS
WITH THICK CREAM
PlГЎtanos Machos Fritos con Crema
Through the lushly tropical, banana-growing land of Tabasco, the
cafeterГ­as write plГЎtanos fritos on their menus (add a few cents if you
want them fried in butter) and they serve them with thick, soured
cream. Outside our Oaxacan apartment most afternoons, a young
man came around with his wood-heated cart that was loaded with
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 471
tender plantains warmed over pineapple rinds. And all the country’s
fairs have at least one stand that fries churros, potato chips and these
whole, golden cooking bananas.
Plantains are a favorite everywhere: They are astringent when
raw, but if they’re soft—nearly black-ripe—when they go on the
fire, they’re delicious and sweet as they come off. I like to serve them
for brunch or a Sunday evening snack, simply fried in butter and
topped with cream. With the cinnamon, rum and nuts called for
below, they make a special, simple dessert for an informal dinner.
YIELD:
4 servings
1ВЅ cups Thick Cream
OR 1Вј cups commercial sour cream thinned with about 1/3
cup cream
Вѕ cup nuts (pecans, slivered blanched almonds, walnuts or
pine nuts)
3 medium, very ripe plantains (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1
/3 cup dark rum
ВЅ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
1. The cream and nuts. Stir the thick cream gently to smooth it out;
if you’re using commercial sour cream, mix it with the cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 325В°. Spread the nuts onto a baking sheet and
toast until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Frying the plantains. Peel the plantains and slice on a diagonal
into Вј-inch-thick ovals. Just before serving, melt the butter in a very
large (12-inch) skillet over medium to medium-low heat, then arrange
the plantains in a single layer. Fry until deep golden, 3 to 5 minutes
per side. (If necessary, fry them in 2 batches, keeping the first batch
warm in a low oven.) Transfer to a warm serving platter.
3. Finishing the dish. Return the skillet to the heat, add the rum,
cinnamon and sugar, and stir until a glaze is formed (ignite the
mixture with a match, if you wish, to burn off the alcohol). Pour
over the plantains. Sprinkle on the toasted nuts and serve immediately, passing the cream separately.
472 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Plantains: The plantains must be soft and blackening; otherwise, they
will be bland rather than sweet. They’re usually sold green, so buy
them well in advance.
Timing and Advance Preparation
From scratch, the dessert takes 15 to 20 minutes. Plantains will not
oxidize like bananas, so they may be sliced several hours in advance
of frying; little more can be readied prior to cooking.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Fried Plantains with Cajeta and Cream: Some of the street vendors
fry the plantains as directed above, then spoon on the cream and
drizzle on about ВЅ cup of Goat-Milk Caramel.
Strawberries (or Other Fruit) with Cream: Around Irapuato,
Guanajuato, roadside stands sell crimson strawberries in rich, ripe
cream. Two pints berries and 1 cup sweetened Thick Cream or
commercial sour cream (thinned with a little cream) are enough for 4
to 6 servings. Papaya, mango, peaches and nectarines are all very nice
served this way.
POACHED GUAVAS
IN SPICY SYRUP
Guayabas en AlmГ­bar
When I brought home my first kilo of ripe guavas one winter and
piled them in a bowl on the table, I found it difficult to walk by
without stopping to inhale their spicy aroma. I’d planned to cook
them into the thick jellied paste they call ate, but I wound up
poaching them in a cinnamon-flavored syrup as they do in traditional
restaurants across Mexico. The gentle, short cooking captures their
aroma, develops their flavor and enhances their delicate texture; in
short, it shows off the fruit at its best. I heartily recommend poaching
guavas when you can lay your hands on some (they’re mostly
available during fall and winter months). And if they’re the pink
ones, the dish will be particularly beautiful.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 473
YIELD:
4 generous servings
3 pounds ripe guavas
11/3 cups sugar
4 inches cinnamon stick
6 cloves
2 strips of lime zest (green rind only), 2 inches long and Вѕ inch
wide
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Вј teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preparing the fruit. Peel the guavas, cut in half and scoop out the
seedy centers with a teaspoon, leaving only the shells. Set the prepared fruit aside.
2. Poaching the fruit. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, lime zest, juice and 2ВЅ cups water, and bring to
a simmer, stirring. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20
minutes.
Uncover, strain, return the syrup to the pan and set over medium
heat. When the syrup returns to a simmer, add the prepared fruit
and partially cover. Poach until tender but firm, 5 to 10 minutes,
depending on the ripeness. Uncover and let the fruit cool in the
syrup.
3. Reducing the syrup. With a slotted spoon, remove the fruit. Boil
the syrup over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15
minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and pour over the
fruit; cool and serve.
474 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Preparing the Fruit: Guavas, like avocados, react with low-carbon
knives and turn dark. Guavas are easy to work with, the only drawback
being the small quantity of clean, seedless flesh that each fruit gives.
Ingredients
Vanilla:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparing the guavas for poaching takes about ВЅ hour; poaching and
cooling takes 1ВЅ to 2 hours, almost all of it unattended. The dish may
be completed 2 or 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Let the
guavas warm to room temperature before serving.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Other Cinnamon-Poached Fruit: When guavas are unavailable,
substitute 2 pounds quinces, pears or apples: Peel, core and cut into
large pieces, placing the cut fruit in a bowl of water into which you’ve
squeezed ВЅ lemon or lime. Drain, add to the syrup and simmer slowly
for about 25 minutes for quinces, about 15 minutes for apples or pears.
Complete the recipe as directed.
A Note for Guava Aficionados:
I was never keen on raw guavas until I had some whirled in the blender
with milk and sugar to make a licuado: The flavor and perfume were
there, without the mealiness of the fresh fruit.
TROPICAL FRUIT ICES AND EXOTIC
ICE CREAMS
There is a general rule that the farther you come down from the cool
temperate regions that make up the bulk of Mexico, the more you’ll
see the little store-fronts outfitted with cold cases stocked with ices
and ice creams, bright-colored Popsicles and fruit drinks. The rule
has at least one major exception, however: Temperate-climate Oaxaca
City has Mexico’s most talked-about tradition of ices and ice cream.
For generations, the neveros, as the vendors call themselves, had
set up canopied tables, chairs and ice buckets on one side of Alameda
Park in Oaxaca City; but when the city decided to beautify things,
the neveros found themselves displaced to the year-round market (a
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 475
bonus for the customers) and a few spots out by one of the churches.
Theirs has always been a simple craft: Mix the sweet, ripe bounty
of the warm earth with a little sugar, pour it into tin canisters that
are packed in ice and salt, then spin them by hand, scraping and
mixing from time to time, until the insides hold forth in coarse,
slushy coldness.
What’s most unpredictable about the whole affair is, first, the enthusiasm with which the country reveres these vendors (at Chagüita,
the most renowned stand, there are pictures of different celebrities’
pilgrimages to eat the fruit-flavored cupfuls). And second, there are
the flavors: They move quickly past the predictable mango, coconut
and peach to such unimaginable (occasionally rather unpalatable)
ingredients as avocado, cheese, corn, burned milk, even pork rind,
and one made of roses and almonds.
The Oaxacan specialties come in three styles: fruit with water,
fruit with milk, and a smooth alternative with milk and egg yolks,
called nieve de sorbete. For the recipes here, I’ve combined what I
learned hanging around the stands with notes given in Guzmán’s
Tradiciones gastronómicas oaxaqueñas. And if you want the honest-togoodness, coarse, granita—like texture of the market ices, use the
“still-set” freezer method I’ve outlined in the notes.
Kitchen Spanish
Nieve (literally “snow”) and helado (literally “frozen”) both refer
to ice cream in Mexico. The new chains generally call their offerings
helados, while some of the older shops label the ices nieves and ice
creams helados. But it’s not always that cut-and-dried. In Oaxaca,
most everything is a nieve, even if it is made with custard.
Keys to Perfect Ices and Ice Creams
Techniques
Adding Alcohol: Besides adding flavor, a little rum, Triple Sec or
what have you will make the mixture freeze more slowly, give it a
finer consistency and keep it from freezing solid.
Flavoring Fruit-Based Concoctions: The mixture should be fairly
sweet (the sugar’s potency is diminished a little by freezing); lime,
as well as sugar, can brighten dull (or underripe) fruit flavors; and
alcohols can add richness.
Freezing Without an Ice Cream Freezer: For a coarser, granita-type
(and, truthfully, more authentic) texture, make the ice or ice cream
476 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
base with alcohol, place in a stainless-steel bowl in your freezer and
beat every 45 minutes for several hours, until it holds its shape in a
spoon. About 30 minutes before serving, beat it once more; if frozen
solid, break it up and beat it quickly, in batches, in a food processor,
to give it a light consistency.
Ripening and Storing: An ice cream freezer will only take the mixture to a soft-frozen state; to firm it, “ripen” in the freezer or in a
new packing of salt and ice for several hours. Ices and ice creams
without emulsifiers and stabilizers will become more crystalline the
longer they’re frozen, so plan to eat them a few hours (at most a day)
after freezing. Store tightly covered.
Ingredients
Fruit: Ripe, strong-flavored, perfumey fruit is what you’re after.
Scout the bruised and overripe bargains: They’ll have a riper flavor
(texture is of no concern), and you can simply cut out the bad spots.
Equipment
Ice Cream Freezers: All of these ices were tested in a Waring 2-quart
ice cream maker that uses ice cubes and table salt. Any freezer will
work and they all have their peculiarities, so read the directions.
CUSTARD ICE CREAM WITH
CINNAMON AND VANILLA
Nieve de Sorbete
Generally, this beautifully light ice cream is made with milk (some
cooks make it even less creamy by omitting the cooking); on occasion,
though, I want a really rich, smooth frozen dessert, so I’ll replace
the milk with half-and-half. Two tablespoons brandy or dark rum
are a delicious, though nontraditional, addition.
YIELD: about 1ВЅ quarts, 8 servings
1 quart milk
1ВЅ cups sugar
2 inches cinnamon stick
10 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 477
1. The cinnamon-flavored milk. Combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick in a large, heavy, noncorrosive saucepan (preferably
enameled cast iron). Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then simmer,
covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the
fire.
2. The custard. Beat the egg yolks until runny. Slowly whisk in 1
cup of the hot milk mixture, then whisk the yolk mixture into the
milk remaining in the saucepan. Return the pan to medium-low heat
and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the custard has thickened
enough to coat a wooden spoon (it should be 185–190°), 7 to 10
minutes. Do not let the mixture come near a boil or the egg yolks
will curdle. Immediately strain through a fine-mesh sieve, then stir
in the vanilla and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
If there is time, cover and chill before freezing.
3. The ice cream. Scrape the custard into the canister of your ice
cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
For a firmer ice cream, “ripen” for several hours by placing in your
freezer or by repacking the ice cream freezer with a new round of
ice and salt.
478 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
See.
Ingredients
Vanilla:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Preparing the custard takes about 30 minutes, cooling 40 minutes. The
base can be finished a day or two ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Once the ice cream is frozen, plan 2 or 3 hours for it to “ripen.”
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream: Prepare the recipe as directed, adding
a 3.3-ounce tablet of Mexican chocolate (pulverized) to the ice cream
just before it finishes freezing.
Custard Ice Cream with Fruit Flavors: Complete the recipe as outlined,
adding 1 to 1ВЅ cups prepared fruit from the following list just before
the ice cream finishes freezing (optional accompanying spirits, to be
added to the ice cream base, are listed in parentheses):
Nectarines, peaches or mangos: peeled, pitted and chopped (2
tablespoons brandy or golden rum)
Blackberries: lightly crushed (2 tablespoons blackberry liqueur,
brandy or Triple Sec)
Strawberries: hulled and crushed (2 tablespoons Triple Sec,
Cointreau, Grand Marnier or framboise).
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 479
Fresh Prickly-Pear Ice
FRESH PRICKLY-PEAR ICE
Nieve de Tuna
I’ve written the main fruit-ice recipe using prickly pears simply because preparing the fruit requires a little more explanation. Ices
made of more common fruit follow the same general procedure, as
480 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
detailed in the variations. Prickly pear ice is delicious with the nontraditional addition of 1ВЅ tablespoons Cointreau.
YIELD: 5 to 6 cups, 6 to 8 servings
3ВЅ pounds (about 18 medium) fresh prickly pears (tunas)
1 cup sugar, plus a little more if necessary
About 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Preparing the prickly pears. Cut a ВЅ-inch slice off both ends of the
prickly pears, then make a ВЅ-inch-deep incision down one side, end
to end. Carefully (remember, there are little stickers) peel off the
rind, starting from your incision: The rind is thick and, if ripe, will
easily peel away from the central core of fruit. Roughly chop the
peeled prickly pears.
2. The ice base. Place the fruit in a blender or food processor, add
1 cup water, the sugar and lime juice, and blend for several minutes,
until the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve;
taste for sweetness and tartness, adding more sugar or lime juice as
necessary. If time permits, chill thoroughly.
3. Freezing the ice. Pour the mixture into the canister of your ice
cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
When the ice comes from the machine, it may be rather soft; for a
firmer texture, let it “ripen” in your freezer for a couple of hours
before serving.
Prickly pear cactus fruit (tuna)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 481
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
See.
Timing and Advance Preparation
It takes about ВЅ hour to prepare the ice base; it can be done a day
ahead, covered and refrigerated. Plan 20 to 30 minutes to freeze the
ice and at least 2 hours to “ripen” it.
TRADITIONAL CONTEMPORARY VARIATIONS
Mango, Peach, Nectarine or Cantaloupe Ice: Peel, pit and/or seed
about 2 pounds (slightly more for cantaloupe) fruit, to yield 2 cups of
fruit pulp. Puree with 1ВЅ cups water, Вѕ to 1 cup sugar, and lime juice
to taste. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. A
tablespoon or so of dark rum is a delicious addition.
Strawberry, Blackberry, Boysenberry or Kiwi Ice: Puree 2ВЅ cups of
packed-down fruit (hulled and halved strawberries, peeled and diced
kiwi) with 1 cup water, Вѕ to 1 cup sugar and about 2ВЅ tablespoons
fresh lime juice. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. A
tablespoon or so of Triple Sec or Cointreau are good additions.
Nieve de LimГіn: Prepare the Lime-Zest Cooler, reducing the water to
3 cups. Freeze the mixture according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Optionally, add 1 tablespoon each tequila and Triple Sec for a mock
margarita ice.
DRINKS
Bebidas
There is but a single drink that comes to most North American minds
when Mexican food is on the menu: margaritas, the sweet-and-sour,
pale-green cocktail that is linked to Mexico by its shot of tequila. In
reality, it’s just the tequila that’s Mexican, not so much the cocktail
itself; for rarely does tequila get mixed up with anything in Mexican
tradition, save a lick of salt and a squirt of lime.
Though the first Mexicans didn’t do any distilling, it didn’t take
the Spaniards many years to get the country going with stills. The
first spirits were called simply aguardiente (“firewater”) de mezcal,
referring to the local maguey from which the liquor was made. Still
today, all but the most famous firewater (the one made from the
thin-spiked blue maguey in the vicinity of Tequila, Jalisco) retains
the name mezcal. Famous or not, they are all poured into shot glasses
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 483
(some might say a little too frequently), then drunk according to a
set of well-respected traditions.
The first ritual drink in Mexico was pulque, the fermented sap of
a large, gray-green maguey. Though it is low in alcohol and high in
nutrients, the simple ferment was strictly controlled during preColumbian times, and drunkeness was not tolerated. Nowadays, it
is much less a part of everyone’s libationary custom than, say, the
good light and dark Mexican beers that have become so popular in
the United States.
The native drink we should probably accord the most reverence
is chocolate, simply because of the passionate stir it has created in
our country. And, of course, its botanical name, Theobroma, does
mean “food of the gods.” It, too, served as a ritual drink for priests
and nobles in pre-Columbian Mexico; but centuries of greater
democracy brought it into the morning and evening routines of the
less powerful, less aristocratic. In Oaxaca, the smells of fresh-ground
chocolate permeate busy streets around the market. And inside at
the market fondas, the dark chocolate gets whipped into a frothy hot
brew and set out with rich egg bread (pan de yema), or it’s used in a
foamy cold drink (tejate) made with mamey seeds, cocoa flowers
and corn masa. Through chocolate-growing Tabasco, a wine is made
from the sweet-sour pulp surrounding the beans in the pod; and in
the markets there, they grind the beans with masa, dilute the mixture
and serve it cool (pozol). In Chiapas, the beans are ground with
toasted corn and achiote seasoning for a cool drink called tescalate.
Wherever chocolate comes to the lips, it’s nearly always coarseground and in liquid form—something of a disappointment, I know,
for anyone whose vision of chocolate has a designer label or a dense,
fudgey consistency. Personally, I’ve never found a cup of cinnamonand-almond flavored Mexican hot chocolate to be anything but sheer
joy.
More frequently consumed than a foamy sweet cup of the somewhat expensive chocolate, is the milky cafГ© con leche. Some very good
coffee is grown in Mexico, though most of it destined for export.
Much of what remains, luckily, gets filtered in espresso machines
or pot-brewed and sweetened with dark sugar and spices (cafГ© de
olla).
Anyone who has visited Mexico knows that one’s consumption
of liquid increases—because of the high altitudes or the warm temperatures. But even if we were to drink as much here in this country,
I don’t think it would be as enjoyable: Pop cans simply aren’t as
484 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
pretty to look at as the glass barrels full of colorful Mexican drinks.
Though most of these “natural” soft drinks are made from fruit,
they’re always accompanied by an unchanging trio: brewed, brightred jamaica “flowers” a tart, sweet cooler flavored with the insides
of the tamarind pod; and a version of the Spanish horchata, here
made of steeped, finely ground rice and cinnamon. All these drinks
are set out everywhere—though most famous in Oaxaca—and their
fruity flavors are sweet and uncomplicated to match the unpretentious, spicy snacks they’re frequently paired with.
Mexico’s soil received its first vineyards only three years after the
Spanish conquest, but production was slight and of little gastronomical interest until this century. Nowadays, varietal wines are filling
grocery-store shelves and playing a greater role in middle-class
Mexican drinking—perhaps even more than the sangria of coarse
red wine and sparkling limeade that has been popular in cities for
some time.
No Mexican from the highlands would forgive me for failing to
mention the wintery ponche they love to serve at the Christmastime
posadas. Warm and fruit-filled, the stuff can pack a real punch, with
its liberal lacing of cane alcohol (aguardiente de caГ±a). While ponche
is for special occasions, atole—the warm, light, masa-thickened porridge—has been consumed daily since before the Spaniards came,
and it is more nutritionally sound and comforting than any other
Mexican libation. Even when atole is made with milk, fruit, nuts or
chocolate, Mexico thinks it’s a little old-fashioned. Nonetheless, it
is the drink to have with tamales; it is the bearer of tradition in a
country where pulque is almost gone, a country up to its gills in pop
bottles.
While many cuisines offer little in the way of beverages, Mexican
food is inseparable from the drinks that accompany it. They’re delicious and unusual, and they’ll give your Mexican meals an authentic flavor. So don’t overlook all the refreshing and satisfying variety
I’ve included in this chapter.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 485
Hand-blown goblets, Tlaguepague
MORE ON MEXICAN SPIRITS
The original Mexican alcoholic drink, Pulque, has retained a following through the years, especially in the cooler, higher, drier areas of
northern Central and West-Central Mexico, where the large
pulque-producing maguey is so abundant. At ten to twelve years of
age, just before flowering, the heart of that maguey is “castrated,”
leaving a cavity for the sap, or aguamiel (literally “honey water”), to
collect in; the liquid goes into a vat with a yeasty starter, then it’s
allowed to ferment for 1 to 2 weeks before selling. Pulque is slightly
viscous and foamy, with interesting herbaceous overtones; some of
it is curado (“cured”) with fruits, sugar, nuts and the like. Unfortunately, pulque seems to be less and less common in Mexico with each
passing year.
Beer, however, is not on the wane, and Mexico has some very
good brews that are imported to the United States and go well with
Mexican fare: Superior (a nice aroma and a full-bodied taste that is
slightly sourish but attractive to many people); Bohemia (perfumey
aroma and a bright taste with nice, lingering hops); Dos Equis (a
slightly caramel aroma and a rich, malty taste that goes on and on);
Negra Modelo (a sweet, heavy aroma and a rich, dark taste that hints
at licorice and sassafras); Corona (a slightly sweet aroma and a light,
crisp flavor); Tecate (a beer made popular by advertising that it
should be drunk with lime and salt…which, in my opinion, help the
beer a lot); Carta Blanca (more or less a Mexican Coors). There are
486 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
others (some of them only available regionally), but these are the
ones you’ll likely find in the United States.
Though the first grape vines were planted shortly after the conquest, for political and cultural reasons the Mexican Wine industry
really didn’t get off the ground until the 1930s. Even though the industry is just coming of age, there is some good wine to be
had—many of the better wines are varietals and readily available
in large Mexican grocery stores; only a few have ever been imported
into the United States. The best wines seem to come from northern
Baja California and QuerГ©taro; many grapes are also grown in
Aguascalientes and in the Comarca Lagunera region, among others.
Wines we’ve tasted and enjoyed are: Misión Santo Tomás Barbera
(Baja California); Hidalgo Riesling-Traminer (QuerГ©taro); Clos San
JosГ© Merlot and Cabernet (QuerГ©taro); MarquГ©s del Valle Cabernet
Reserve (Baja California); Santo TomГЎs Cabernet (Baja California);
L.A. Cetto Petit Syrah (Baja California); Don ГЃngel Cabernet
(Aguascalientes); and Domecq Zinfandel. The latter company,
Domecq, including its labels Calafia, Los Reyes and Padre Kino,
produces the most ubiquitous wines in the country; most of what’s
in the bottle is only passable, in my opinion. Two major problems
that face Mexican wines, however, are that the restaurants aren’t
completely comfortable serving them (nor are all the customers
comfortable drinking them), and matching wines with the frequently
full-flavored Mexican fare is no mean feat. The first will probably
be resolved with time, but the second will take constant evaluation.
Here are my rules of thumb for serving wine with Mexican food:
Rarely should the wine be subtle. Follow the accepted rules for what
goes with red and white, but always lean toward a red if the dish is
rich with herbs, spices and dried chiles; choose reds that are as earthy
and straightforward as the dish. I favor Zinfandels, fruity Beaujolaises or Merlots, gutsy Chiantis, some young Cabernets and, for
certain dishes, simply a good, red table wine; Lee Ellis of Seattle,
Washington, recommended CГґtes du RhГґnes to me, and I agree that
they work well. When white wines are in order, I recommend those
that are dry (or just off-dry) and richly flavored, like GewГјrztraminers, some Chenin Blancs and Rieslings, and even some full-flavored
Sauvignon Blancs. A big, oaky Chardonnay can taste very good with
some of the citrusy Yucatecan dishes.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 487
Mescal, including the famous regional variety tequila, is another
well-known Mexican libation. The major difference between mescal
and tequila is the maguey you start with—tequila can be made only
from the Agave tequilana, a small blue maguey from around Tequila,
Jalisco. Both were originally called aguardiente de mezcal, mezcal referring to the heart (also known as the piГ±a) of the maguey. The hearts
of mature magueys are roasted and shredded, then the juice is
squeezed out; sugar may be added, then it is fermented, distilled
and aged. Most connoisseurs will say that the best Mexican distillates
are well-aged tequilas; they can be very good, almost cognac quality,
but some of the smoky-tasting local mescals from Southern Mexico
and the northern Central states still linger in my mind. Sauza brand
tequila comes in five grades: Tres Generaciones, Conmemorativo,
Hornitos, Extra and the lowly Blanco; Cuervo goes from 1800, to
Centenario, Especial and Blanco; Herradura has an AГ±ejo, Reposado,
Blanco Suave and Blanco. There are dozens and dozens of other labels of tequila, but those three are the most common. Gusano Rojo
and Monte AlbГЎn are the most widely distributed mescals available
in the United States; both are from Oaxaca (and include a maguey
worm in the bottle), but neither compares to the good-quality mescal
(a siglo or pechuga) available in Oaxaca City.
a few Mexican beers
488 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOLERS
Aguas Frescas
Two piercingly tart flavors from Asia found secure Mexican homes
in a couple of revitalizing drinks that match well the capsicum, tomatillos and strong herbs important to so much of Mexican cooking.
Agua de jamaica is gorgeous and crimson, and sugar brings its taste
to a balanced sweet-sour perfection, like a thirst-quenching, herby
cranberry juice. Agua de tamarindo is rich and coffee-brown with
underlying flavors of molasses and lemon. And a third traditional
drink, horchata, is milky with ground rice (and sometimes coconut),
and shot through with pure cinnamon at its most refreshing.
These are the triumvirate of Mexican everyday drinks, and for
years they’ve meant total refreshment—long before soda pop.
Whether ladled out of street-stand glass barrels or served in handblown glasses at the nicest tables, each has that homemade freshness
I miss in frozen lemonade, Coke or Pepsi. For all the Mexican snacks
(antojitos), they are the time-honored accompaniment.
JAMAICA “FLOWER”
COOLER
Agua de Jamaica
I serve jamaica as a nonalcoholic drink before a big dinner, poured
over ice in tall glasses or wine goblets. Though it goes nicely with
Mexican snacks and appetizers, the flavor doesn’t seem to do a lot
for the nicer main dishes; mixed with red wine, however, it makes
an interesting sangria. Whenever you serve it, jamaica’s color adds
festivity.
YIELD:
about 5 cups, 5 or 6 servings
2 cups (2 ounces) jamaica “flowers”
Вѕ cup sugar, plus a little more if necessary
1. Boiling and steeping. Bring 6 cups water to a boil, add the
“flowers” and sugar, and stir while the mixture boils for a minute.
Pour into a noncorrosive bowl (preferably one that won’t stain) and
steep 2 hours.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 489
2. Finishing the drink. Strain through a sieve, pressing on the
“flowers” to extract as much liquid as possible. Taste for strength
and sweetness: If it is too pungent, add water; if too tart, add sugar.
Cover and refrigerate, stored in a noncorrosive container, until time
to serve.
Tamarind pods and jamaica “flowers”
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start 2 hours before serving; jamaica keeps up to 5 days, covered and
refrigerated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Jamaica Sangria: Prepare ВЅ recipe jamaica, using 2/3 cup of sugar.
Strain and stir in 2ВЅ cups dry, fruity red wine and 2 or 3 tablespoons
fresh lime juice. Taste for sweetness and tartness; serve over ice.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Spirited Jamaica: Complete the recipe, then stir in Вѕ to 1 cup vodka,
depending on how much jamaica you wind up with and how strong
you want it.
TAMARIND COOLER
Agua de Tamarindo
The tamarind pods mature on tall trees in warm, humid climates
before they’re picked and heaped in loose marketplace mounds,
each pod looking like a fat, barky broad bean. The dark, sticky pulp
underneath the rough exterior provides the flavor, and occasionally,
you’ll find the extracted pulp packed into small envelopes or jars:
plain, sugared or flavored with chile for a snack. Soaking the pods,
however, is an easy way to get at the essence, and the outcome is
490 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
always fresher tasting. Ice-cold tamarindo is delicious served with
charcoal-grilled foods, as well as enchiladas, tacos and such.
YIELD:
about 3ВЅ cups, 4 servings
8 ounces (about 8 large) fresh tamarind pods (see Ingredients
in Cook’s Notes)
ВЅ cup sugar, plus a little more if necessary
1. Cleaning the tamarind pods. Hold a pod in one hand, loosen the
stem with the other, then firmly pull out the stem, along with the
runners that trail down between the shell and pulp. Peel off the
shells.
2. Boiling. Bring 1 quart water to a boil, add the tamarind pods
and sugar, then boil 1 minute. Pour into a noncorrosive container.
3. Steeping. Let stand 2 hours (really fresh pods will be completely
soft in about 1 hour, old ones may require 2ВЅ hours or more). Using
your hand or the back of a wooden spoon, break up the softened
pods to free the pulp and seeds; knead the fibrous material carefully
to free all the pulp.
4. Finishing the drink. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve,
pressing hard on the seeds and fibers to extract as much of their essence as possible. Adjust the sweetness to suit your taste, then cover
and refrigerate until serving. Stir before pouring.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 491
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Tamarind Pods: For notes on tamarind. In many Latin American and
East Indian markets, you’ll find tamarind paste (usually with seeds
still in it), in addition to the whole pods. To use the paste, scrape 2/3
cup (5 ounces) into a blender jar or food processor with 2 cups water
and ВЅ cup sugar, and pulse until the seeds are dislodged. Strain and
stir in 1ВЅ cups water.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start 2 hours ahead. The drink will keep in the refrigerator for about
5 days.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Tamarind Brandy Sour: Prepare the recipe as directed; stir in 1/3 to
ВЅ cup brandy and a little fresh lemon juice. Taste for sweetness, serve
over ice.
Kitchen Spanish
Occasionally, aguas frescas (literally “fresh waters”) will be referred to
as aguas preparadas (“prepared waters”), to emphasize the fact that
they’re made, rather than store-bought like soda pop.
ALMOND-RICE COOLER
Horchata
This has the simplest and most familiar flavors of the three most
common aguas frescas: a slightly chalky, thirst-quenching refreshment
with a flavor reminiscent of rice pudding. This recipe is based on
the version served at the nationally famous Casilda’s aguas frescas
stand in Oaxaca, where the crushed pulp of the tiny cactus fruit (jiotilla) is often stirred in to make the liquid pink. Their version relies
in good part on the almonds to give it richness and body. I was
forewarned that only hand-grinding on the metate would make it
good; that’s close to the truth, but I did finally come up with a
blenderized version that works.
This drink is light but rich—exceptionally good hot-weather party
fare, poured over ice.
492 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
YIELD:
about 1ВЅ quarts, 6 to 7 servings
6 tablespoons rice
6 ounces (about 1Вј cups) blanched almonds
1 inch cinnamon stick
Three 2-inch strips of lime zest (colored rind only), Вѕ inch
wide
About 1 cup sugar
1. Soaking the rice and almonds. Thoroughly pulverize the rice in a
blender or spice grinder. Transfer to a medium-size bowl and add
the almonds, cinnamon stick and lime zest. Stir in 2Вј cups of hot
tap water, cover and let stand at least 6 hours or, preferably,
overnight.
2. Blending and straining. Scoop the mixture into the blender jar
and blend for 3 or 4 minutes, until it no longer feels very gritty. Add
2 cups of water, then blend for a few seconds more. Set a large sieve
over a mixing bowl and line with 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth.
Pour in the almond-rice mixture a little at a time, gently stirring to
help the liquid pass through. When all has been strained, gather up
the corners of the cheesecloth and twist them together to trap the
dregs inside. Squeeze the package firmly to expel all the remaining
liquid.
3. Finishing the horchata. Add 2 cups of water and stir in enough
sugar to sweeten the drink to your taste. If the consistency is too
thick, add additional water. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready
to serve. Stir before pouring.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 493
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Grinding/Blending: Be careful to pulverize the raw rice thoroughly (a
miniblend container on a blender is second-best to a spice grinder)
and to blend the soaked mixture until it loses most of its grittiness.
Straining: Unless you have a super-fine-mesh French chinoise strainer,
use the 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth, or the drink will be
gritty-tasting.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Start 7 hours (preferably a day) ahead; your active involvement will
be about 20 minutes. It keeps 5 days or more, covered and refrigerated.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Spirited Horchata: Add 1/3 to ВЅ cup light or golden rum to the
finished drink.
LIME-ZEST COOLER
Agua Preparada de LimГіn
Rallado
The agua frescas deserve a separate chapter. There are
many [of them] and many who make them, but the aguas of Casilda are
a class apart. Whoever thinks of refreshment thinks of Casilda….
Standing or sitting on the modest benches in the interior of the
old Oaxacan market, you can hear [the insistent requests] in front
of the green ollas from Atzompa: two horchatas
with cactus fruit, three zapotes, one plum, and so on…to all
the points of a fruitful rosary, greedily repeated in dry throats.
—ANA MARÍA GUZMÁN DE
VГЃSQUEZ COLMENARES,
Tradiciones gastronГіmicas oaxaqueГ±as
[author’s translation]
I never met Oaxaca’s famous Casilda, but I spent many afternoons
at her renowned drink stand, in front of the glass pitchers of brightcolored fruit drinks and the earthenware pots. It’s there I learned
494 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
about agua de limГіn rallado, the fragrant green drink made of the
colored skin of underripe limes. Casilda’s niece runs the stand now,
with a conscientious pride and generous grace. And she freely shared
many of the details of her trade, even to bringing me a sack of underripe limes and the rough clay mortar (chirmolera) to demonstrate
the preparation of this Oaxacan specialty. It is such a distinctive,
delicious liquid that I’ve used it in my Margarita and I freeze it into
an ice as they do in Oaxaca.
YIELD:
1 quart, 4 to 5 servings
8 large dark-green limes
Вѕ to 1 cup sugar (or even a little more, if desired)
1. Steeping the lime zest. Using a very fine, rasplike grater—not a
citrus zester—remove the limes’ green zest (no white). Add 1 quart
water, using a little of it to rinse into the bowl any zest that has clung
to the grater. Let stand 1 hour. (Wrap and refrigerate the fruit for
another use.)
2. Finishing the drink. Strain the zest mixture through a fine-mesh
sieve, pressing firmly on the solids to extract as much liquid as
possible. Add enough sugar to sweeten the drink to your taste, stirring until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serve
over ice.
Lava nock and earthenware mortars (molcajete and chirmolera)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 495
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Grating Lime Zest: To duplicate the raspy-rough Oaxacan clay mortar,
I rub the limes on the raspy side of a four-sided stand-up grater; if that’s
not available, very finely grate the zest. Never scrape below the green
surface—the white pith is bitter.
Ingredients
Limes: I’ve written the recipe for the large Persian/Tahitian (often
seedless) limes common in our markets; choose the darkest-green ones
to duplicate the little, hard, underripe Key limes used in Oaxaca. And
don’t add the juice; it bleaches out all the green color.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Begin about 1ВЅ hours ahead; your active involvement will be only 15
to 20 minutes. The drink keeps a day or so, refrigerated.
SPARKLING LIMEADE
Limonada
Since lime is one of Mexico’s national flavors, it’s not surprising that
a glass of cold sweet-sour limeade is one of the national drinks.
Unlike the simple drink from the street vendors’ tables, the limonada
of the coffee shops and restaurants is often mixed with sparkling
mineral water, making it more refreshing yet.
We make limonada at home a lot because it nicely complements
Mexican dishes—even some of the most refined ones, and it makes
a very special nonalcoholic choice at any dinner party.
YIELD:
about 5 cups, 5 to 6 servings
ВЅ to 2/3 cup sugar
11/3 cups freshly squeezed lime juice (roughly 8 to 10 limes)
1 quart sparkling water
Add the smaller amount of sugar to the lime juice and stir until
the sugar is dissolved. Add the sparkling water, stir and taste for
sweetness; add more sugar if desired. Pour over ice and serve immediately.
496 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Mexican lime juicer
COOK’S NOTES
Timing and Advance Preparation
The juice and sugar may be mixed together a little ahead, but the
sparkling water must be added at the last minute.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
ChГ­a Limeade: Mix 1 tablespoon chГ­a seeds (available in health-food
stores) in 1 quart water and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the
seeds swell and become rather gelatinous, about 1 hour. Stir in ВЅ to
2/ cups sugar and the juice of 1 lime. Cover and refrigerate several
3
hours until the seeds sink. Stir and serve over ice.
Veracruz-Style Toritos: Make the limeade with nonsparkling water,
then stir in ВЅ to Вѕ cup cane alcohol (aguardiente de caГ±a in Mexican
markets), grain alcohol or vodka. Toritos are also made with sweetened,
diluted tropical-fruit purees in place of the limeade.
FRUIT AND MILK
SMOOTHY
Licuado de Leche y Fruta
Mariano Dueñas’ small pamphlet on the modern variety of Mexican
refreshment praises the “delicious and nutritive licuado” as the salvation of Mexican health. Apparently he’s not alone, for the entire
country has enthusiastically adopted the blender-made concoctions
and all the burnished-Formica juice bars that serve them. Life is the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 497
better for it, I think, because licuados offer an alternative to overripe
fruit in the trash can and too much candy at the snack bar. Made
from milk, they are filling (a complete breakfast, says Sr. DueГ±as)
and much less like soft drinks than the related aguas frescas and
licuados de agua that are made with water.
YIELD:
11/3 to 1ВЅ cups, 1 large serving
1 cup cold milk
1 to 1ВЅ tablespoons sugar, plus more if necessary
3 to 5 ounces (ВЅ to Вѕ cup) fruit (banana, cantaloupe, mango,
persimmon, papaya, strawberry, watermelon or guava), peeled,
hulled, seeded and/or cored, as necessary, and cut into small
cubes
1. Blending. Combine all the ingredients in a blender jar and blend
until very smooth.
2. Straining. If there are seeds, skins or stringy fibers, strain through
a medium-mesh sieve, taste for sweetness and serve in tall glasses.
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Fruit: Choose ripe fruit with a strong aroma. The quantity needed will
vary depending on the fruit’s flavor.
Timing and Advance Preparation
This quick drink is best served shortly after blending.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Polla: Combine Вѕ cup milk, Вј cup rompope (egg liqueur), 1 tablespoon
sweet sherry and 1 egg in a blender jar. Blend until frothy and serve.
Licuados with Water: The juice bars also make licuados with water
instead of milk; some fruit (like watermelon and pineapple) tastes
better that way. Made in large quantities with less fruit and more
sugar, they are sold by the street vendors, alongside the horchata and
such: In batches, blend 1ВЅ pounds fruit with 1ВЅ quarts water; strain
and sweeten, then add a little chopped fruit to float about.
498 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
MAKING OAXACAN CHOCOLATE
Sometimes they brought [Montezuma] in cups of pure gold a drink
made of the cocoa plant, which they said he took before visiting
his wives.
—BERNAL DÍAZ CASTILLO, 1492–1580, chronicler of the
conquest
The common walled dwellings that hug the walkways and streets
of Mexican towns create a peculiarly strong sense of public versus
unapproachable private…in a country that is so renowned for open
festivity. I felt it acutely in JuchitГЎn, Oaxaca, where day after day I
heard inexplicable fire-fueled pops and cracks from behind the high
wall across the alley from where I was staying.
Only after several careful and courteous inquiries was I hesitantly
invited into the private patio of the chocolatera. Her cacao beans
crackled as they roasted, her charcoal-heated metate coarsely ground
the greasy beans back and forth with the cinnamon, almonds and
sugar, and her hands patted the paste into fat cigar shapes. The result
was then mixed up with water in a green-glazed Oaxacan chocolate
mug and whipped frothy with a wooden molinillo. The rich flavor
of the fresh, strong chocolate needed nothing more than that water
to bring it to life.
For most of us nowadays, chocolate is thoroughly refined; it’s
spoken of and handled as other precious commodities. We moved
long ago beyond the traditional, uncomplicated drink, beyond its
original role as liquid sustenance, to all sorts of overcomplicated
concoctions and prestigious labels. Until now. When we hear talk
once again of the “discovery” of the “wonderful Mexican chocolate,”
with its satisfying savor.
If any man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure;
if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent
asleep; if his fine spirits have temporarily become dulled;…we say, let
him be given a good pint of amber-flavored chocolate…and marvels will
be performed.
—BRILLAT-SAVARIN, The Physiology of Taste, 1825
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 499
Chocolate, from pod to frothy beaten drink
CINNAMON-FLAVORED
HOT CHOCOLATE
Chocolate
Volumes have been filled with details of the engaging cocoa bean.
Historians have debated the etymology of its New World
name—from Nahuatl for “bitter water,” from Mayan “hot water”
or simply from the choco-choco sound of the ancient chocolate
beater in the pot—and they’ve not come to any conclusion. Researchers have singled out the precious varieties that served as New World
currency well after the Spanish conquest. They’ve described the elegant chocolate-drinking cups of Montezuma and the various flavors,
from savory to sweet, that went in with the ground beans. They’ve
followed it to Europe, to the courts and chocolate parlors and even
into (and back out of) the churches; and finally, they’ve moved on
to the smooth Swiss confections that made chocolate a candy (helping, I suppose, to spread the final covering over its “barbaric” New
World roots). Chocolate has gone so far from home that today few
realize what a vital role the rustic cup of hot chocolate plays in
Mexican life.
YIELD:
about 3 cups, 3 to 4 servings
500 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
2ВЅ cups milk (or water)
A 3.3-ounce tablet Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
1. Simmering. In a medium-size saucepan, simmer the milk (or
water) with the chocolate for a few minutes over medium-low heat,
stirring constantly to dissolve the chocolate.
2. Beating. Either pour into a pitcher and beat well with a Mexican
molinillo (chocolate beater), whisk or electric mixer, or pour into a
blender, loosely cover and whiz until thoroughly mixed. Either way,
you should wind up with a nicely frothy drink. Serve at once.
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Blending Warm Mixtures: Warm mixtures expand when blended and
will pop the top off a well-sealed blender jar, so cover without sealing.
Ingredients
Mexican Chocolate:.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The French gastronomer Brillat-Savarin and his articulate translator
M.F.K. Fisher both recount the benefits of letting chocolate set
overnight, thus concentrating the flavor and turning it velvety-smooth.
It works, though it’s common in Mexico to just blend and serve.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Spirited Mexican Chocolate: Prepare the Mexican hot chocolate, add
1/ to ВЅ cup golden rum, brandy, KahlГєa or orange liqueur, beat or
3
blend, then serve.
Mocha Mexican Chocolate, Hot or Iced: When the milk and chocolate
have simmered, add 4 tablespoons ground dark-roasted coffee, stir,
cover and set in a warm place for 4 or 5 minutes. Strain, beat and serve.
It’s also good over ice or with 1/3 to ½ cup Kahlúa stirred in.
POT-BREWED COFFEE
WITH RAW SUGAR
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 501
AND SPICES
CafГ© de Olla
Today, Mexico’s best coffee is ripened and dried along the roadways
in the cloud-blanketed highlands of Chiapas and over through
Veracruz and Oaxaca. The prime beans are usually roasted a little
darker than ours—almost a Viennese roast—and they brew a nice,
medium-bodied liquid with some spunk. They tell me it’s the secondclass beans that get roasted darker, to a mahogany black with a
shining sugar coat.
The steam-powdered espresso machines in the city cafeterГ­as extract
a trio of ethnic brews: espresso, straight, foamy and Italian; cafГ© con
leche, mixed with hot milk, French-style (but so common one would
mistake it for purely Mexican); or americano, simply diluted with
water. The more rural brew leans toward the Spanish, the history
books say, but it seems like a Mexican-flavored campfire version to
me. CafГ© de olla at its best is pot-boiled in earthenware with molassesy
piloncillo sugar and spices like cinnamon, anise or cloves. These days,
many traditional city restaurants offer the dark, delicious drink more
regularly, served in old-fashioned earthenware mugs at the end of
the meal.
YIELD:
about 1 quart, 4 to 5 servings
4 to 5 ounces piloncillo, roughly chopped
OR ВЅ to 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, plus 1 teaspoon molasses
2 inches cinnamon stick
A few aniseeds (optional)
2
/3 cup (2 ounces) Viennese-roast coffee, medium to coarse
grind
1. Boiling and steeping. In a noncorrosive pan, combine 1 quart
water, the sugar, cinnamon and optional aniseed. Bring slowly to a
boil, stirring to melt the sugar. Stir in the coffee, remove from the
fire, cover and steep for 5 minutes.
2. Straining. Strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve into cups
or mugs and serve immediately.
502 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Earthenware pot and cups for cafГ© de olla
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 503
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Piloncillo: Use about ВЅ of one large (9-ounce) cone of the raw sugar;
or use 6 or 7 of the small (Вѕ-ounce) cones.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Coffee is always best made just before serving; the longer the warm
coffee sits with the grounds, the harsher it will become.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
CafГ© con Leche: To make the ubiquitous early-morning or late-night
beverage, brew extra-strong coffee in a drip pot with ВЅ cup
Viennese-roast coffee and 1ВЅ cups water (or brew 1 1/3 cups espresso
in a stove-top pot). Heat 1В to 2В cups milk (depending on how strong
you like your Café con Leche—Mexicans typically drink it weak), and
stir in the coffee. Pass sugar separately.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Pot-Brewed Coffee with KahlГєa: For a nice after-dinner coffee, add 1
to 2 tablespoons KahlГєa to each small cup.
Regional Explorations
Coffee comes most beckoningly into its own in the old Spanish colonial
strongholds. Three in particular stand out: MГ©rida, YucatГЎn, where
greco brings a tiny cup with grounds still in it (an influence of the
Lebanese population); the great Parroquia restaurants in Veracruz,
where waiters come to fill your cup dramatically from the kettles of
strong coffee and steaming milk; and the market in Hermosillo, Sonora,
with its coffee fondas serving a thick, unflavored black coffee strained
through cloth bags.
MASA-THICKENED
HOT CHOCOLATE
Champurrado (Atole de Chocolate)
I have friends who have worked in the high, remote corners of
Mexico, where beans and tortillas make up the daily ration and
special occasions find an earthenware pot bubbling with the simple
masa porridge called atole. Sometimes it’s sweet, other times it’s
flavored with pungent leaves of epazote and hot little chiles, like the
504 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Aztec atolli described by Friar Sahagún in the 1550s and the freshcorn chileatole I’ve had from the huge clay ollas on the streets of
Puebla at dusk.
In the present-day Mexican culinary order, atole goes with tamales
like fries with burgers, though some people have begun to think the
drink is old-fashioned and ask for a Squirt or Coke instead. The
heart-warming drink can come in flavors from plain (blanco, they
call it) to fruit, nut and chocolate, and in textures from smooth with
a cornstarch thickening to coarsely flecked with fresh-ground masa;
it can be rich with milk or thin with water. Being a North American,
I predictably go first for the special Oaxacan atole called champurrado,
since it’s flavored with chocolate. Alongside the main recipe, there
are variations for other flavors.
YIELD:
1 generous quart, about 5 servings
ВЅ cup fresh masa
OR a scant ВЅ cup masa harina mixed with a generous Вј cup
hot tap water
2 cups milk
A 3.3-ounce tablet of Mexican chocolate, chopped
2ВЅ ounces piloncillo, chopped
OR 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar plus ВЅ tablespoon
molasses
A few aniseeds, crushed (optional)
1. The base. Measure 1Вѕ cups water into a blender jar or food processor, add the masa (or masa harina mixture), blend until smooth,
then pour into a medium-size saucepan.
2. The atole. Add the milk, chocolate, piloncillo (or brown sugar and
molasses) and optional crushed aniseed. Bring to a simmer, whisking
constantly, then simmer over medium-low heat, whisking frequently,
until the chocolate and piloncillo are completely dissolved, about 5
minutes. Strain, if you wish, then serve in cups or mugs.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 505
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Mexican Chocolate:.
Piloncillo: If you buy large (9-ounce) cones of the raw sugar, it takes
a little less than 1/3 of one; if they’re small (¾-ounce) cones, you’ll
need a little more than 3.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Any atole can be ready in 10 minutes or so; it may be kept warm over
a pan of hot water for an hour (though you may need to thin it with
a little milk before serving). It is not at its best when reheated.
TRADITIONAL VARIATIONS
Nut Atole: Replace the chocolate with ВЅ cup finely ground pecans,
walnuts or blanched almonds, adding them with the masa. Add Вј
teaspoon ground cinnamon as the atole simmers, or ВЅ teaspoon vanilla
when it comes off the fire. Increase the sugar, if desired.
Pineapple Atole: Prepare the recipe as directed, reducing the water to
1ВЅ cups, blending 1ВЅ cups cubed fresh pineapple (peeled and cored)
with the masa, replacing the milk with 1ВЅ cups water, and omitting
the chocolate and aniseed. You may wish to increase the sugar.
Strawberry Atole: Prepare the recipe as directed, reducing the water
to 1ВЅ cups, blending 1ВЅ cups strawberries (hulled) with the masa,
reducing the milk to 1ВЅ cups, and omitting the chocolate and aniseed.
This is best made with 2/3 cup granulated sugar rather than piloncillo.
A PUBLIC PARTY,
MEXICO CITY—STYLE
The parking lot spreads out below Arroyo restaurant in southern
Mexico City. On Sunday afternoon, you leave your car with the attendant, who somehow wedges it in with the hoard of others, you
climb the rising walk—past lottery-ticket sellers, ladies offering rose
bouquets and milk fudge, coconut candies and crystallized
fruit—into an open room that smells of smoldering coals and frying
pork. To one side, the men put maguey-wrapped lamb into specially
built, wood-fired pits. Men across the way tend copper caldrons of
browning pork called carnitas or plunge sheets of pork skin into hot
fat for it to burst into the beloved crisp, honeycomb sheets of
506 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chicharrГіn. And completing the triangular arrangement of the room
is the setup of drinks: the fruit-filled aguas frescas in stunning colors,
pulque, tequila, mescal and the spicy chaser sangrita.
The place is huge; it must seat five hundred or more in its various
rooms with open sides and rafters hung with bright-colored tissuepaper cutouts. The bands roam freely: An accordian carries from
the norteГ±o group in one room, regulated by an insistent snare and
guitar; a white-clad harp player stands near the table with his jarocho
band, waiting for someone to recommend one of the fast-paced zapateados; and mariachis blare trumpets, plunk guitarrones and sing
forth with sweet, heartfelt violin refrains. The space is so charged
with its own festivity, as to make memory of another reality seem
distant at the very least.
The pulque—that slightly foamy, fermented juice of the maguey
plant—tastes rich and thick with unusual herbaceous undertones.
One group has ordered the pulque curado with red strawberries or
pink guavas. Another is tearing the paper seals from their tiny individual bottles of tequila, pouring them into the narrow shot glasses,
then taking them in a one-two punch with shots of the chile-heated
tomato-orange concoction they call “little blood” (sangrita).
The afternoon passes slowly at Arroyo. First, a plate of thick masa
cakes (tlacoyos) in green sauce; then tender lamb barbacoa with a light
scent of wood and maguey and a splash of the dark salsa borracha;
chewy, well-browned pork (carnitas) and guacamole; tortillas hot
off the press. Three generations at every table, grandmothers buying
soft-centered meringues for the children and fathers singing along
with the tales of remorse, misguided love and pride for the home
state. The Sunday afternoon passes as the crowds order their seconds,
refills on the drinks and another round of songs. Luckily, it seems
to pass slowly.
TEQUILA SHOOTERS
WITH SPICY CHASER
Tequila con Sangrita
Really, how do you drink the fiery liquid—the tequila, the mescal?
Straight from the little glasses? With lime? With salt? With sangrita?
There are no definitive answers, as best I can tell. Carl Franz, clearly
a neat sort of drinker, writes in The People’s Guide to Mexico that a
little salt licked off the back of the hand raises the saliva at the back
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 507
of the throat and protects “sensitive tissues from the burning alcohol,” which generally comes in strong shots. He adds: “The lime
will also do this and when taken after the drink cleanses the mouth
of the awful taste of the liquor.” (Awful taste? What has Franz been
drinking?) Virginia B. de Barrios, in her book A Guide to Tequila,
Mezcal and Pulque, espouses a lime-tequila-salt routine (rather than
Franz’s reversal). And to add to the confusion, I’ll report that I’ve
frequently seen folks dip a wedge of lime in salt, take a belt then
suck the salted lime.
Personally, I like the liquor with the popular, fresh-tasting, picante
chaser for which I’ve given a recipe below—or simply with a bite
on a lime wedge. And the better the tequila, the less necessary you’ll
find the flavorful accoutrements. I always put them out, though, to
let each person suit his or her preference.
YIELD:
about 1 cup sangrita, 4 to 8 shot-size servings
For the sangrita:
ВЅ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
4 teaspoons grenadine syrup
Вј cup tomato juice
Вј cup freshly squeezed lime juice
ВЅ teaspoon or more Salsa Picante or bottled hot sauce
Вј teaspoon salt
For serving:
½ pint easy-drinking tequila (see Ingredients in Cook’s Notes)
2 limes, cut into wedges (optional)
A small dish of salt (optional)
In a bottle or pitcher, mix together all the sangrita ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, allowing the flavors to
meld.
When you’re ready to serve, pour the sangrita into 4 to 8 tiny
glasses (any 1ВЅ- to 3-ounce glass can serve the same function as a
shot glass), then divide the tequila into 4 to 8 more small glasses.
Serve a glass of each to your guests; pass the lime wedges and dish
of salt for those who prefer to take their tequila the other way.
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Teguila and teguileros (shot glasses)
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Tequila: A really good bottle is expensive, but there is no comparison
to its easy-drinking smoothness. Sauza’s Tres Generaciones (“Three
Generations”), Cuervo’s 1800 and Herradura’s Añejo (“Aged”) are
top of the line; Cuervo’s or Sauza’s gold varieties or Herradura’s
Reposado are good mid-priced alternatives. The inexpensive white
(clear) tequilas are generally too harsh to serve this way.
Equipment
Shot Glasses: In Mexico, tequila is traditionally served in narrow
glasses that are about 3 inches tall and hold 1 ½ ounces or so; I’ve also
bought the tiny “mugs” called copitas (or tequileros or mezcaleros) made
of earthenware and available in markets in Guerrero, Jalisco and
perhaps other places, too. Any small glasses will work, however.
Timing and Advance Preparation
Mix together the sangrita at least an hour before serving; it will keep
for about a week in the refrigerator, covered.
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TEQUILA-LIME COCKTAIL
Margarita
I admit to a stab of pain when I hear North American restaurant
goers proclaim that their favorite part of a Mexican meal is the
margaritas. Drunk before the meal…two or three of them. But then
who can fault the diners when so many of our Mexican-American
restaurants specialize in uneventful plates of beans and rice?
Now all this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good margarita now
and again. But I think the ones from the standard guides (1ВЅ ounces
tequila, ВЅ ounce Triple Sec, ВЅ ounce lime juice and a little sugar,
shaken with ice and strained) are simply too strong for those weaned
on margaritas made mostly of commercial sweet-and-sour mix. So
I’ve developed what I think is a very good, fresh-tasting margarita,
frothy and not too strong. You have to start a little ahead, but it’ll
be one of the best you’ve had. If you’re so inclined, rub the rims of
the glasses with a lime wedge, then dip them in a dish of kosher salt.
YIELD:
about 3ВЅ cups, 4 servings
1Вј cups Lime-Zest Cooler
Вј cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1
/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup decent-quality, drinkable tequila (see Ingredients in
Cook’s Notes)
1
/3 cup Triple Sec
1 cup ice cubes
1 egg white (optional)
1. Preparing the base. Mix the prepared Lime-Zest Cooler with the
lime juice, salt, tequila and Triple Sec, and let stand for ВЅ hour for
the flavors to blend.
2. Finishing the margaritas. Just before serving, pour the mixture
into a blender jar and add the ice cubes and optional egg white.
Blend for 30 to 45 seconds, until the ice is chopped (and the egg
white is whipped to a froth). Serve immediately over cracked or
crushed ice.
510 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Maguey for tequila
COOK’S NOTES
Techniques
Blending with Egg White: This bartender’s trick gives a rich foaminess.
Ingredients
Tequila: Within reason, the better the tequila, the better the margarita.
However, the finest, cognac-quality variety won’t be shown at its best
when mixed with lime, salt and sugar, nor will the harsh, unaged clear
tequilas gain much smoothness from the additions. My rule is to use
nothing less drinkable than Cuervo’s gold Especial.
Timing and Advance Preparation
You must start at least 2 hours ahead to prepare the lime-zest cooler
and steep the cooler with the alcohol. Neither preparation takes much
time to make and the base may be completed several hours in advance.
Blend the margaritas just before serving.
RED-WINE COOLER
WITH FRESH LIME
Sangria Mexicana
This Mexican cousin to the Spanish drink of red wine, fruit juice, liqueur and sugar is a simple, sparkling limeade-and-wine cooler. As
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 511
one who enjoys red wine, I’m happy that they stir these up in restaurants all over Mexico; until recently, most of Mexico’s wine production has been pretty coarse stuff, so the additions to the glass
have been welcome. The bartenders in even the smallest establishments like to float the wine over a denser, lime-flavored layer made
with a special syrup; but it’s just as good simply stirred up.
YIELD: about 5ВЅ cups, 6 servings
2
/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2
/3 cup sugar
3 cups dry, fruity red wine, like Beaujolais, Zinfandel or many
red table wines
1 cup sparkling water
4 to 6 wheels of lime, with a cut made on one side
1. The lime-sugar syrup. Mix together the lime juice, sugar and Вј
cup water, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. The sangria. Just before serving, pour the wine into a pitcher and
stir in the sparkling water and lime syrup. Serve over ice in tall
glasses, each garnished with a wheel of lime wedged onto the rim.
Hammered copper pitcher, michoacГЎn
512 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
COOK’S NOTES
Ingredients
Red Wine: It doesn’t need to be expensive and shouldn’t be subtle:
Look for dry fruity and drinkable; a thin wine will benefit from this
preparation, where a tannic one will still taste rather harsh.
Timing and Advance Preparation
The sangria takes 15 minutes. The lime-sugar syrup can be made ahead
and refrigerated. Complete Step 2 just before serving.
CONTEMPORARY IDEAS
Sangria with Other Juices: Replace part of the lime juice in the
preceding recipe with orange juice, or all of it with a combination of
grapefruit and orange; adjust the sugar to suit your taste. Some drink
makers like to stir in a little Triple Sec or flavored brandy.
White-Wine Sangria with Tequila: Prepare the preceding recipe with
a medium-dry, fruity white wine (like a Chenin Blanc or
GewГјrtztraminer), replacing ВЅ of the lime juice with orange juice and
adding Вј cup tequila.
GLOSSARY OF MEXICAN
INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT
ACHIOTE: The brick-red achiote seeds, collected from the pods of a
small tree that grows throughout YucatГЎn, are widely available in
the United States. They are often called annatto seeds, and are in
many chain groceries and markets that cater to Mexicans and
Caribbeans. In Mexico, a paste made from achiote seeds is more
common than the seeds themselves; in Chiapas and Oaxaca, the
paste is usually pure, while in YucatГЎn it contains herbs and spices.
Occasionally the Yucatecan seasoning paste shows up in the United
States, but you will usually have to make your own from the seeds;
don’t be tempted to buy the Puerto Rican achiotina (achiote-flavored
fat). The very hard seeds are a powerful coloring agent; they last
indefinitely in a closed jar at room temperature.
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AVOCADO LEAVES (hojas de aguacate): These leathery, substantial
leaves from the avocado tree (of the laurel family) are about 7 inches
long and 3 inches wide. Only ones picked from large trees grown
outdoors will have the characteristically anisey, herby aroma and
flavor. In many recipes, the leaves are lightly toasted, then ground
or cooked with other ingredients. Here, I’ve called for them in
Chicken Barbacoa only—used untoasted, to line a steamer. Substitutions are suggested in the recipe.
Gvocado leaves
AVOCADOS (aguacates): Though different varieties of avocados
show up in different regions, the one everyone prizes is the Hass,
which is grown extensively in California and Mexico. It is a mediumsize, oval fruit with a knobby skin that ranges from dark green to
black-brown when ripe. The flesh is very flavorful (richly herby,
with almost nutty overtones) and it has good keeping qualities.
Second choice is the Fuerte variety: a medium-size, pear-shaped
fruit with a thinner, almost smooth, greener skin. The flavor and
keeping qualities are second to the Hass. Other green, thin-skinned,
pear-shaped varieties include the Bacon, Zutano and Pinkerton.
Reeds are round, and like most other Florida varieties (such as the
Booths) are huge. All of these have rather poor keeping qualities
and less flavorful (often stringy) flesh. More and more markets (especially Mexican ones) sell avocados that are ripe, meaning they
yield to firm, gentle pressure. Never buy avocados with dark, soft
spots or ones so ripe that the pit is loose inside. Firm/hard avocados
can take 4 or 5 days to ripen in a warm spot. Keeping them in a
closed paper bag traps the naturally emitted ethylene gas, which
will cause them to ripen more quickly. Avocados that have just
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 515
reached ripeness can be refrigerated for longer keeping: up to 10
days for Hass, but considerably shorter time for other varieties.
Hass avocado
BANANA LEAVES (hojas de plГЎtano): These large, fragrant green
leaves are used in Southern, Yucatecan and Gulf Coastal Mexico for
wrapping food before it’s baked or steamed. Because they impart a
distinct flavor, they’re worth tracking down. Though Mexican groceries rarely carry them, I always find them in Filipino stores (and
some large Oriental or Indian ones) and occasionally in Puerto Rican/Caribbean markets. They’re usually sold frozen in 1-pound
packages. Look for leaves that are intact—no obvious rips or shredding. If frozen, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator. They’ll
last for a month or more refrigerated; if they mold, just wipe them
off. They are always steamed or passed over a flame to make them
more pliable before using; the details.
BEANS (frijoles):.
BITTER ORANGE: See Citrus Fruits
CACTUS PADDLES (nopales or nopalitos): These are the paddleshaped stems (called pencas in Spanish, but often mistakenly referred
to as “leaves” in English) from several varieties of prickly-pear cactus
plants. They’re used most frequently in the cooking of West-Central
and Central Mexico. They are often available fresh in Mexican groceries (I’ve even seen them in some of the chain supermarkets, too).
Most anywhere they carry Mexican goods, you’ll find canned ones
that have been cleaned, cooked, sliced and packed with flavorings
(they only need to be drained and rinsed before using). The texture
and flavor of fresh paddles is considerably better than that of canned,
and I choose the medium-size ones (roughly 4ВЅ inches wide by 8
516 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
inches long, weighing 8 to 10 ounces) that are firm (never droopy).
Loosely wrapped and refrigerated, they will keep for several weeks.
Cactus paddles (nopales)
To Clean Fresh Cactus Paddles:
Holding a cactus paddle gingerly between the nodes of the prickly
spines, trim off the edge that outlines the paddle, including the blunt
end where the paddle was severed from the plant. Slice or scrape
off the spiny nodes from both sides. If you are boiling the cactus,
cut it into Вј-inch strips (or ВЅ-inch dice as some cooks recommend).
To Cook Fresh Cactus Paddles:
Boiling is the most common method of cooking: For 4 medium
paddles, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot, heavily
salt it and optionally add Вј teaspoon baking soda (to lessen the
discoloration). Add the prepared cactus and boil uncovered over
medium-high heat until quite tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (Failing to
cook the cactus long enough will leave you with sticky cactus that
continues to leak a mucilaginous substance—similar to what okra
exudes, known as baba in Spanish; also, baba will make the water
thick and foamy, so watch for boilovers.) Rinse the cooked cactus
for several minutes under cold water, then drain thoroughly on paper
towels.
My favorite way to cook cactus (because it involves no
baba-leaching water) comes from West-Central Mexico, where whole
charcoal-grilled or griddle-cooked cactus paddles sometimes accompany regional specialties: Leave the paddles whole after cleaning,
simply scoring each side lengthwise 3 times with a knife. Brush each
side with vegetable oil, then sprinkle with salt and a little lime juice.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 517
Roast them over a medium-low charcoal fire (which gives them a
wonderful flavor) for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, or roast them
on a griddle heated to slightly lower than medium, turning, for about
20 minutes. For the most even cooking, roast them in the oven at
350В° for about 25 minutes. Cool, then cut it into strips or dice.
CAZUELA: See Cooking Equipment
CHAYOTE: This lesser-known relative of the squash is becoming
widely available in U.S. supermarkets; most common is the palegreen, smooth-skinned variety, though the dark-green, spiny chayote
occasionally shows up in Mexican groceries. I’ve rarely seen it labeled
anything but chayote, though I’ve heard it is called “mirliton” in
Louisiana and “vegetable pear” or “pear squash” in other parts.
Unwrapped and refrigerated, chayotes keep for a month or more.
They’re usually peeled and halved, then the pit is cut out. They can
be boiled, fried or stuffed, though boiling usually leaves them with
a watery taste and texture, like a cross between zucchini and potato.
An average chayote weighs 8 to 10 ounces.
Spiny and smfooth chayote squash
CHEESE (queso): Mexico has never much been known for its cheese,
though one type in particular plays a strong supporting role in the
taste of Mexico’s food. It’s an easily made cake of fresh cheese (not
unlike our farmer’s or ricotta cheese) that goes directly from farmhouses and small factories to traditional tables. It gets crumbled on
snacks, fried beans and rice, mixed with other flavorings to fill
518 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
turnovers or chiles, cubed to put into soups and stews, and sliced
to go in sandwiches or to eat with gelled fruit pastes as a dessert.
And some of this crumbling cheese is sold drier, having been aged.
aged and fresh cheese
Of course, this garnishing fresh cheese isn’t exclusive: A few good
regional cheeses—made to melt like most of our cheeses—are used
to stuff into turnovers and chiles, to crown special modern enchiladas, and to melt into queso fundido. Their use in traditional fare,
however, is much less extensive than that of the fresh cheese.
Regional Explorations:
Because the regional variations in fresh and melting cheeses are
so numerous, I have chosen only to mention the most famous ones.
West-Central Mexico: Very good queso fresco (literally “fresh cheese”)
is available here, especially the smooth-textured ones from San Juan
del Río, Querétaro; the dry, salty queso añejo (literally “old cheese”)
from Cotija, MichoacГЎn, is the most famous queso aГ±ejo in the country
(and is, as far as I know, the only Mexican cheese regularly imported
into the United States); and the moist, porous, fresh queso panela,
frequently sold in the little baskets in which it drains, is one of the
region’s glories. Oaxaca: There’s the famous, tightly wound balls of
string cheese (quesillo), which make delicious eating when they’re
aged a few weeks. Tabasco and Chiapas: Tabasco is famous for its
dryish loaves of ripe-tasting, almost crumbly cream cheese (queso
crema or doble crema); Chiapas has a similar cheese, but it’s popularly
made into balls and wrapped with string cheese (queso de bola con
corazГіn de mantequilla). Chiapas, colonial stronghold that it is, also
makes a tasty, Spanish-style manchego. Toluca: There they sell a
dryish fresh cheese for making simple turnovers (called queso asadero,
literally “grilling cheese,” because it softens nicely when heated),
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 519
flavored with epazote and chile manzano. Chihuahua: There’s a type
of mild cheddar called queso menonita because it is made by the large,
German-speaking Mennonite population; elsewhere this cheese is
called queso Chihuahua.
CHEESES CALLED FOR IN THIS BOOK
Fresh or Aged Crumbling Cheese: In Mexico, this white cheese is
available in nearly all markets; it ranges in size from huge blocks to
tiny cakes, and in texture from fine (almost smooth on the tongue)
to coarse and spongy; all of it breaks apart or crumbles readily when
pressed between the fingers (like the dry fresh farmer’s cheese).
Most of it softens when heated (often exuding whey), but it usually
will not melt. Most is made from skimmed (usually unpasteurized)
milk, is sold within a day or two of making (so it is often still
draining whey), and has a high water content (so it may spoil if not
stored properly). Some versions are specially made for aging (they
seem to dehydrate more than ripen, perhaps because of the high salt
content). Most Mexican fresh cheeses taste fresh and milky (rather
than cheesy) and they have a good amount of acid and salt. An aged
cheese retains some of that milkiness (though it’s sharper) and it
doesn’t have the nutty, developed-cheese flavor of a Parmesan—a
cheese you’d think it would resemble. Other names for queso fresco
are simply queso, queso ranchero (“ranch cheese”), and, occasionally,
queso de metate (if its curds have been smoothed on the metate); names
for queso añejo include queso Cotija, queso oreado (literally “aired
cheese”), and queso seco (“dry cheese”), plus the more distinct varieties like sierra and morral, which fill the same function.
In the United States, the queso fresco available from most of the
cheese companies that specialize in Mexican cheese (Cacique and
Supremo, among others) often tastes cheesy (like a Muenster) or
bland; the only exception I can recommend is the 5-ounce round of
“queso fresco/Mexican-style cheese” made by Supremo in Chicago.
When that’s not available, I usually use the creamier feta cheese to
replace either queso fresco or queso aГ±ejo, though it is more strongly
flavored. To tame its brininess, soak it in water for an hour or two;
to give it a more authentic texture, let it dry out at room temperature,
turning occasionally, for a day or two. Some other substitutes for
queso fresco are: dry (pressed), fresh farmer’s cheese, usually available
in pear-shaped slabs (this doesn’t have the acidity or saltiness of
queso fresco; crumble and add salt); dry-curd cottage cheese (this has
a high moisture content, so press it between paper towels, then
520 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
crumble and add salt); a mild, domestic, fresh goat cheese, like the
small rounds made in California, New York or New Jersey (these
are tangier and creamier than queso fresco, but they have a similar
fresh quality). In addition to feta, some other substitutes for queso
aГ±ejo are: a mild Parmesan, Romano or Sardo (they all lack that
milkiness and are more cheesy-flavored, though they can be
crumbled/grated appropriately) or the dry ricotta (not the soft
variety packed in tubs) available in some specialty cheese stores
(look for salted ricotta/ricotta salata or aged ricotta).
Melting Cheese: In Mexico, this could be the mild, cheddar-like Chihuahua cheese, the Northern asadero (most commonly, it’s like a
creamy, whole-milk mozzarella), the stringy, rather rubbery Oaxacan
quesillo, or any of the numerous mild, bricklike cheeses.
In the United States, I’ve not been happy with most of the imitation
Chihuahua or asadero cheeses made here, so I usually choose a mild
white cheddar, Jack or whole-milk mozzarella; brick and domestic
Muenster are too bland for my taste, though not necessarily inauthentic. Most Mexican melting cheeses are uncolored; the real Chihuahua has a touch of yellow color added. In Mexico, a melted cheese
that strings (hace hebras, as they say) is highly prized.
CHILES, IMPORTANT (THOUGH PERHAPS DISPUTABLE*
FACT What are they and why are they called that? Chiles are the fruit
of a plant in the genus Capsicum, most of the species in Mexico being
annum (though chinense and frutescens are also represented). The
fruit (sometimes called a pod) can range from mild to extremely
pungent (in English, we say “hot”; in Spanish, it’s picante, not caliente), from sweet to astringent and from fresh to dry. Names vary
from country to country and even within countries: The Spanish
likened the pod’s pungency to that of black pepper (that is, pimienta)
and so called them pimientos, hence our English label pepper. Spaniards who stayed on in Mexico called them chiles after the Aztec
chilli; Americans heard that Spanish chile as “chili,” and remnants
of that Anglicized spelling and pronunciation still persist (needlessly,
I think, except perhaps in the case of the Texas State Dish). In other
parts of Latin America, the pod is called ajГ­ (and sometimes uchГє,
among other names). So what it boils down to is that “chile” means
“pepper”—and not just “hot pepper” or the redundant “chili pepper”; many researchers also include the bell peppers in the group.
In Spanish, an adjective follows the word chile to distinguish the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 521
variety (or cultivar, in botanical terms): chile ancho (literally “wide
chile”), chile poblano (“Pueblan chile”), and so forth.
Heat vs. Flavor: Capsaicin is the incendiary culprit: Some varieties of
peppers don’t have it, others do…and in a range of dosages. You’ve
probably heard the oft-repeated axiom “the smaller the pepper the
hotter it is,” but all the exceptions make it a rather useless saying to
me. Peppers might not always deliver what you think they’ve
promised: Supposedly mild peppers can turn out to be hot and viceversa, and no one has developed a foolproof way to regulate them;
weather conditions, among other things, seem to have quite an effect.
Besides some degree of searing, there are flavors, too, and each
variety has a distinctive one that changes noticeably from green to
mature to red-ripe to dry. Mexicans generally seem to be as aware
of flavor as they are of heat.
What’s Hot and What’s Not: The greatest proportion of capsaicin is
concentrated in the internal white veins and the seed pod; seeds,
apparently, are hot only by association. Carefully removing the seed
pod and veins will make a chile less picante. If that isn’t enough, I’ve
had good luck soaking the chiles for several hours in heavily salted
water. The upper third of the chile always seems hotter than the
rest.
Why Can’t I Figure Out Which Pepper Is Which, and Does It Really
Matter? First, there are well over a hundred varieties of known chile
cultivars; second, they cross-pollinate readily; third, different soils
and climates produce different chiles from the same seeds (meaning
that, a chile poblano grown in Texas won’t be exactly the same as one
grown in Aguascalientes); fourth, Mexico is a land rich in regional
distinctions (including individual regional names for foodstuffs);
and fifth, the United States has no national ruling committee telling
us what chiles are to be called. In spite of those five demoralizing
problems, there is hope for the North American lover of Mexican
food: You can taste a good part of the breadth of Mexican cooking
with only a handful of fresh and dried chiles—all of which show up
in U.S. Mexican markets (and some chain groceries) with a relatively
uniform, easily recognizable look (despite what they might be called).
Throughout the book, I have employed the chile names most commonly used in Mexico and the United States (my apologies to those
in California, where the names are sometimes different).
Cooking with and Eating Chiles: Most cooks with an instinct for selfpreservation wear impermeable gloves when working with peppers:
Capsaicin is not water soluble and will linger on your fingers for
522 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
hours (even days), causing them (or any other body part they come
in contact with) to burn. Jean Andrews writes in Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums that a mild bleach solution apparently renders the
capsaicin water soluble, and so can be used to rid your hands of the
burning stuff; it has worked for me. Now, besides being a flavorful
source of vitamins C and A, most chiles are enjoyed because they’re
hot, and each one has a different kind of heat: Some quickly take
effect, then dissipate, while others set in slowly; some burn the front
of your mouth, others the back (toward the throat). When you eat
something beyond your chile tolerance (in Spanish, you’ve become
enchilado(a)), you should drink something cold (soda pop, beer or
the like); it will help sooth temporarily while you wait for the burn
to abate. If you’re in acute discomfort, try some sugar, or bread, or
milk, or guacamole (but by the time you’ve gotten through all that,
the sensation will no doubt be gone).
CHILES, CANNED OR BOTTLED Canned Chipotles en Adobo:
Though there is a considerable flavor difference between a rehydrated dried chipotle and one that has been canned with tomato sauce,
vinegar and spices, I’ve only included recipes in this book that I
think work well with the canned chiles; dried chipotles are more
difficult to find, while canned ones are in nearly every little Mexican
grocery. Be careful of the brands, though: San Marcos packs the
really smoky chipotles mecos with a minimum of added flavor; La
Preferida packs chipotles mecos, but with lots of sugar in the sauce;
Embasa packs the smaller moras/chipotles colorados that taste good
but light, compared to mecos; and La CosteГ±a makes an unhappy,
chopped-up, “pickled” affair with moras. Stored in a noncorrosive
container, covered and refrigerated, the canned chipotles should last
for a couple of weeks or longer. In Mexico, you can also get straight
pickled chipotles; they are not usually right for these recipes.
Pickled Fresh Chiles: Though for the best texture and taste, I heartily
recommend that you make your own, some store-bought pickled
chiles (called chiles escabechados, chiles en escabeche or chiles encurtidos)
are quite good; jalapeГ±os are the most popular, but you can also find
serranos, gГјeros and any number of not-typically-Mexican varieties.
Though batches of the same brand can vary, look for chiles that are
firm and unbroken and in a good-flavored brine. Stored in a noncorrosive container, covered, refrigerated and with sufficient brine to
cover the chiles, they will keep for several months.
Canned Peeled (Long) Green Chiles: Rather than resort to green pepper
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 523
when fresh poblanos or the long greens (like Anaheims) are unavailable, I’d get a can of these. Unfortunately, most of what you can find
on the grocery-store shelves is quite soft. Choose ones that are fireroasted for the best flavor. There are 2 or 3 in each 4-ounce can.
CHILES, DRIED (chiles secos): The small hot ones are usually
pureed into a sauce to pep it up, while the larger ones (most of which
are much milder than the small ones) are used to provide the bulk
of a sauce’s substance and flavor. Little ones are less frequently
toasted before using, it seems to me, and they’re often bought
powdered or crushed. The larger dried chiles are generally toasted,
pureed and strained (removing those tough skins), then cooked with
flavorings to make a sauce.
Regional Explorations
Some researchers have devoted their lives to identifying and
cataloging the distribution and names of the hundred-plus chile
varieties in Mexico. What follows here is obviously not exhaustive,
but simply a sketch of Mexico’s rich chile complexity, highlighted
by the most well-known regional types. YucatГЎn uses few chiles,
primarily just a locally grown, small, hot chile seco. On the other side
of the coin, in Oaxaca I collected 22 different dried chiles. Among
the most unusual were: the wide-shouldered, brittle, 4-inch-long,
red, yellow and black chilhuacles; the brittle, narrowish, 4-inch-long,
red and yellow chilcostles; the hot, brittle, finger-size red and yellow
chiles de onza; and the smoky, near-burgundy, wrinkle-skinned 3- to
4-inch-long chiles pasillas oaxaqueГ±os. Just about anywhere, you can
find the sweet-tasting, wrinkle-skinned ancho and the brick-red,
brittle-skinned guajillo or some relative; to those two you can add
the chile mulato and pasilla, since most cooks demand their availability
for use in their moles. Chipotles are a popular sauce flavoring in Puebla
and Veracruz, and the cooks here and there throughout the country
like to use the 1Вј-inch spherical, brittle, dark brick-red chiles cascabeles
for sauces, too. Everywhere, the cooks require the services of one of
the orange-red hot peppers like the slender, small, fingerlike chile
de ГЎrbol, the ВЅ-inch oblong chile piquГ­n, the Вј-inch spherical chile tepГ­n
and/or the narrow, stemless, 2-inch-long chile japonГ©s.
524 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Locating, Storing and Cleaning:
Small (1ВЅ-inch), narrow, hot dried chiles are available in most
groceries and many chain stores carry a few of the larger ones (New
Mexico/California or ancho). A wide variety will be available in such
places if you live in Chicago or the Southwest. Many kinds are
available at most Mexican groceries, and specialty food stores frequently carry some as well. If dried chiles look sandy or dirty (some
are open-air dried), simply wipe them off with a cloth.
Seeding and Deveining:
Break off the stems, then tear (or, if necessary, cut) open the chiles;
shake or pick out the seeds and pull (or cut) out the lines of lightcolored veins. (Small hot chiles are frequently not broken open after
stemming: If they’re not too hard or brittle, simply roll them gently
between your thumb and fingers to loosen the seeds, then shake
them out through the opening at the top.)
Toasting:
Toasting brings out and enhances the flavor of nearly every chile,
though not all cooks or traditional preparations will call for it. Directions for griddle-toasting are included in the recipes. You know
the chiles are toasted when they’ve crackled, blistered, changed
color slightly and released their chile aroma (if they smoke, the
griddle is too hot or they’ve been left on too long). As the chiles cool,
they will crisp some; only if you’re making chile powder must the
chiles be toasted so thoroughly that they are completely crisp when
cool.
VARIETIES OF DRIED CHILES CALLED FOR IN
THIS BOOK
Chile Ancho: Ancho (literally “wide”) is the name for a dried poblano.
The dried chile will be in the neighborhood of 3ВЅ to 4 inches long,
with broad shoulders (2 to 2ВЅ inches wide) that taper to a point; the
skin will be quite wrinkled, and in the package the chiles will look
almost black (though holding one up to the light will show it to be
a very dark burgundy). An average ancho weighs ВЅ ounce. Always
look for untorn, clean, soft, aromatic chiles (they’ll smell a little like
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 525
prunes). A puree of soaked chiles anchos will be brownish red with
a mild, rich, almost sweet taste (it reminds me a little of milk
chocolate) and a bit of residual bitterness. Per ounce, ancho gives
more pulp than most chiles. Regional names include: chile pasilla
(MichoacГЎn and vicinity, plus California); the generally descriptive
chile de guisar or chile de color/colorado (MazatlГЎn, Tampico, QuerГ©taro,
among the smattering); and in the northwest and northern WestCentral areas there is a small hot ancho they call chino.
Chile de ГЃrbol: When you can find chiles de ГЎrbol in a fresh state, they
generally go by that same name. This vibrant, orange-red dried chile
is usually slightly curved and measures in at about 3 inches long
and ВЅ inch wide, tapering to a sharp point; the skin is smooth, rather
brittle and translucent. Forty-five mixed-size chiles de ГЎrbol weigh 1
ounce. Choose them as you would guajillos. A puree of soaked chiles
de ГЎrbol will be a beautiful burnt orange with a very hot, sharp,
straightforward dried-chile flavor. Regional names for this chile include: parado and palillo (San CristГіbal de las Casas, Chiapas), cambray
(Monterrey), and pico de pГЎjaro (northern west coast).
Smooth Skin Dried Chiles
526 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Wrinkled-Skin Dried Chiles
Chile Chipotle: Chipotle (from the Nahuatl for “smoked chile”) is the
name of a smoke-dried jalapeño (the chile doesn’t air-dry well, so it
must be force-dried, in this case with warm smoke). The dried chile
is about 2ВЅ inches long and 1 inch wide; it smells smoky (you should
be able to smell it through the package), is brittle and wrinkleskinned, and is the only chile I know with a woody tan color. An
average chipotle weighs slightly over 1/8 ounce. Look for chipotles
that are firm and unbroken. A puree of soaked chiles chipotles will
be dark brown, with heat that comes on like a freight train and a
flavor that is the essence of sweet smoke; it is not astringent, nor is
the dried-chile flavor very pronounced. In Puebla and Veracruz, the
name chipotle (colorado) is used for a slightly smaller, dark-burgundy,
wrinkle-skinned, smoky-smelling chile; in those places, the chipotles
described above are called chipotles mecos (the latter word meaning,
literally and confusingly, “red with black stripes”). Those smaller,
reddish chipotles (called moras in much of the rest of Mexico) aren’t
as sweet or smoky-tasting as the chipotle meco, and they have a
stronger dried-chile flavor; they’re at least as hot as the chipotles mecos
and very astringent. These are sometimes canned under the label
chipotles.
Chile Guajillo: On the rare occasions you find guajillos (literally “little
gourd”) in a fresh state, they generally go by that same name. This
burgundy-colored dried chile comes in a range of sizes (depending
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 527
on the exact variety), but an average one is 4ВЅ inches, slowly tapering
from a 2-inch width to a blunt point; the skin is smooth with some
large wrinkles or folds, rather brittle and translucent. An average
guajillo weighs about Вј ounce. Always look for unbroken guajillos
that are not too brittle and that don’t have any light-colored patches
(which indicate that moth larvae have eaten away the flesh). A
puree of soaked chiles guajillos will be an earthy, bright red with a
medium-hot, nonsweet, strong, uncomplicated dried-chile flavor, a
little tartness and just a hint of smokiness. Per ounce, guajillos gives
much less pulp than anchos; their skin is very tough. Though this
4ВЅ-inch, not-too-hot guajillo (in parts of West-Central Mexico, it is
called mirasol) is the most common variety, there is frequently
available a much hotter, thinner, slightly smaller, more pointed
guajillo pulla (literally “taunting guajillo”). And in parts of WestCentral and Northern Mexico, a chile is available that looks like (and
is described by many market vendors as) a large, completely mild
guajillo; it is very similar to the New Mexico/California variety. Regional names for the latter are listed under New Mexico/California
Chile.
Chile Mulato: A mulato (literally “dark-skinned”) looks almost
identical to an ancho, except when held up to the light: The mulato
will then look darker. Though when fresh/green, this chile looks
like a poblano, few are sold in that state in Mexico. Average weight
and choosing considerations are the same as those for ancho. A puree
of soaked chiles mulatos will be brown/black with a very full, rounded, medium-hot, nonsweet taste that is much less astringent than
that of a chile pasilla. Mulatos yield a fair amount of pulp per ounce.
Chile Pasilla: Pasilla is the name for a dried chile chilaca. The long,
evenly wide, blunt dried chile will range from 4 to 6 inches in length
and 1 to 1ВЅ inches in width; the skin is wrinkled like that of an ancho,
and the color (both in the package and held up to the light) will be
more or less black. An average pasilla weighs 1/3 ounce. Choose
them as you would anchos. A puree of soaked chiles pasillas will be
brown-black with reddish overtones, and it will be medium-hot to
hot and have great depth and complexity of flavor that goes on and
on—not at all sweet, and quite astringent. Pasillas yield a fair amount
of pulp per ounce. Regional names include: chile negro (MichoacГЎn
and vicinity, plus California) and, variously, chile pasilla negro or chile
pasilla de MГ©xico.
New Mexico/California Chile: Some variety of this chile is available
through most of West-Central and Northern Mexico under various
528 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
names: chilacate (Guadalajara), chilaca (Monterrey), de la tierra or colorГ­n (2 distinct varieties in Chihuahua), colorado (Sonora), guajГіn
(Zacatecas), and cascabel (northern West-Central and Tampico—not
to be confused with the small, round cascabel, a word meaning, literally, “jingling bells”). In its fresh state, the chile is similar to or the
same as what we call a long green chile in the United States (simply
chile verde in Mexico). This burgundy-colored dried chile is usually
6 inches long and 2 inches wide, slowly tapering to a blunt end; the
skin is smooth, has less wrinkles than a guajillo but otherwise resembles it. An average New Mexico/California chile weighs about
1
/3 ounce. Choose them as you would guajillos. A puree of soaked
New Mexico/California chiles will be an earthy, bright red with a
rather bland, uncomplicated red-chile flavor and a little tartness;
most of those sold in Mexico are completely mild, though in the
United States you can get some that range to quite hot. Per ounce,
New Mexico/California chiles give much less pulp than ancho; their
skin is very tough. Though some authorities say this chile is often
labeled guajillo in the United States, I have not found it to be true.
CHILES, FRESH (chiles frescos): Fresh chiles, usually small hot
ones, are added to a dish to give that unmistakable, sprightly, fresh
capsicum character. Occasionally, the small ones are boiled or roasted
on a griddle, softening them for pureeing with other cooked ingredients. Some varieties (like jalapeГ±os and gГјeros) are customarily
pickled. The chiles most commonly cooked before using, however,
are the large ones: Their skins are blistered and removed (they are
a little tougher than those of small chiles and would come off in
annoying sheets in the finished dish). Then the chiles may be pureed
with other ingredients to make a coarse, vegetabley sauce, but most
frequently they’re sliced into strips (rajas) to cook with meat or vegetables, or they’re kept intact and stuffed through a slit in the side.
Regional Explorations:
Again, here is a selective chile tour of Mexico—at best, an evocative
sketch of the fascinating complexity that remains to be explored.
Mexico’s favorite—at least most commonly known—fresh chiles are
the large poblano and the small serrano. Of course, with only those
two, Mexican food would lose a lot of its regional complexity: Most
cooks know of the fat little jalapeГ±o and those on the coasts (especially
the Gulf) buy the tiny round, very hot, fresh chiles piquines (a.k.a.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 529
amashitos and chiles de monte). Small quantities of green bell peppers
(pimiento/chile morrГіn [verde]) are in many markets, but to my
knowledge they play no major role in traditional fare, save in the
Yucatán (where they’re very corrugated, quite small and called chile
dulce). A rather narrow yellow chile is popular in YucatГЎn, and it
(and a shorter cousin) shows up, often pickled, in markets around
West-Central (and some in Central) Mexico. The Yucatán’s favorite
little boxy, lantern-shaped chile habanero, in shades from green to
yellow to orange, are reported to be a thousand times hotter than
jalapeГ±os, but the heat dissipates rather quickly and the distinct,
herbaceous flavor is remarkable. In the high elevations between
Michoacán and Puebla, as well as in Chiapas, I’ve tasted lots of the
larger, hot, boxy yellow-orange manzano/perГіn peppers. The long
and slender (6 Г— Вѕ-inch) black-green, rough-looking chile chilaca is
well utilized in parts of West-Central Mexico (as well as a few other
locales). And in the Northern states, especially around Chihuahua,
it’s the rather flat, long, pale-green chile (like our Anaheim or California chile) that is the workhorse of the chile family.
Locating and Storing:
Almost all groceries carry jalapeГ±os (and often serranos) nowadays,
as well as the common banana peppers. Poblanos occasionally show
up in chain supermarkets, but you’ll likely have to go to a Mexican
grocery to find them. Long green chiles are readily available in the
Southwest. Store all fresh chiles in the refrigerator, lightly covered;
most varieties will last several weeks.
Seeding and Deveining Small Uncooked Chiles:
Cut or break off the stems, cut the chiles in half lengthwise, then
cut out the veins and scrape out the seeds.
Roasting Small Chiles:
Simply lay the chiles on an ungreased griddle or skillet set over
medium heat, and turn until the chiles are soft (they will be
blackened in places). Small chiles are occasionally roasted (or
sometimes just boiled) to soften them for easy mashing or pureeing.
530 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Roasting Large Chiles:
Though the primary purpose of roasting chiles is to loosen the
skin for peeling, different methods produce different-tasting results.
I can recommend three methods. (1) To flame-roast, hold a chile with
a pair of tongs (or impale it on a fork) while you turn it very slowly
over a high gas flame (some people do this over an electric burner),
until the entire surface is blackened and blistered, about 1ВЅ minutes,
depending on size. (This is my favorite method because it produces
the least-cooked, best-textured chile with a rustic taste; a very flavorful variation is to roast the chiles over a very hot charcoal fire, as
Mexican cooks have for centuries.) (2) To broiler-roast, lay the chiles
on a baking sheet and set them as close to a preheated broiler as
possible; turn them as they blister and darken, until entirely
blackened, 4 to 8 minutes, depending on the heat source and size of
chiles. Because oil conducts heat so well, brushing the chiles with
vegetable oil will help them blister more evenly. (3) To oil-blister,
heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 375В°, then fry whole chiles in it, a few
at a time, turning frequently until evenly blistered, 2 to 3 minutes.
The chiles blister quickly but will not blacken or develop much flavor, so I recommend this method only for chiles that will be stuffed.
Peeling and Seeding Large Roasted Chiles:
Immediately place the roasted chiles in a plastic bag or damp
towel to steam for a few minutes. (Steaming helps loosen the skin
more fully, but it also continues to cook the chiles; don’t leave the
chiles in their steamy environment too long—you may even omit
the steaming altogether—if you want the chiles to be quite firm.)
Simply rub off the charred skin and rinse. To seed, cut off the stem,
cut in half lengthwise, remove the seed pod, scrape out the seeds
and cut out the white veins.
VARIETIES OF FRESH CHILES CALLED FOR IN
THIS BOOK
Chile Güero: The pale-green to yellow güero (literally “light-skinned”)
chiles (a variety of which is known in the United States as banana/Hungarian wax peppers) will be about 4 to 5 inches long and
1Вј inches wide, eventually narrowing to a point; they have a
squared-off shoulder with a scalloped calyx. An average gГјero weighs
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 531
about 1Вј ounces. The medium-hot flesh is medium-thin and juicy,
and it tastes light with a distinct floweriness. Regional names include:
xcatic (YucatГЎn) and, occasionally, chile largo. A short, pointed chile
gГјero is frequently available in the West-Central and North; it often
goes by the name caribe, and looks like our Santa Fe chiles.
Chile JalapeГ±o: The medium- to dark-green jalapeГ±o (literally
“Jalapan”) chiles will be about 2½ inches long and 1 inch wide,
tapering gradually to a blunt point; they have an average shoulder
and look fat. There are numerous different-size varieties, many of
which have corky-looking, light-color striations covering much of
the pepper (these are very evident in the dried chipotles and some
of the pickled jalapeГ±os, where the striations keep the skin from
coming off). An average jalapeГ±o weighs ВЅ ounce. The medium-hot
to hot flesh is thick and juicy, and it tastes a little sweeter and more
complex (though not necessarily better) than a serrano. Though
they’re jalapeños to us, most Mexican cooks know them as cuaresmeños
or, in certain Central towns, huachinangos (both of which can also
refer to specific subtypes); pickled ones, however, are always called
jalapeГ±os.
Chile Poblano: The dark-green poblano (literally “Pueblan”) chiles will
average 3ВЅ to 4ВЅ inches long and 3 to 3ВЅ inches wide, tapering
gradually to a point; besides their color, they are most easily recognizable by their high shoulders and sunken (technically lobate) tops,
where the stem connects. An average poblano weighs 2ВЅ to 3 ounces.
The mild to medium-hot flesh is medium-thick and not juicy, with
a rich and complex taste (especially when cooked). Choose unblemished ones that are not too twisted (which makes them difficult to
roast and peel). Regional names include: chile para rellenar (literally
“stuffing chile”—northern West-Central and northwest Mexico,
among other places) and simply chile verde (“green chile”); in the
United States I’ve heard them called pasillas (mostly California) and,
occasionally, anchos.
Chile Serrano: The medium-green serrano (literally “mountain”) chiles
will be about 2ВЅ inches long and ВЅ inch wide (though there are
different-size varieties), eventually coming to a blunt point; they
have virtually no shoulder and may curve toward the end. An average serrano weighs a little less than 1/6 ounce. The hot flesh is thin
and not juicy, and it has a strong, almost grassy-tasting green-chile
character that I love. It is often called simply chile verde in Mexico.
Long Green Chiles: These light-green, rather flat-looking chiles will
measure about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, gradually tapering
532 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
to a blunt end; they may have squared-off or sloping shoulders, depending on the variety. An average long green chile weighs roughly
1ВЅ to 2 ounces. The mild to medium-hot flesh is medium-thick and
juicy, and its taste is rather bland but with considerably more flavor
than a sweet, watery green pepper. In Northern Mexico, the only
place I’ve ever seen them sold fresh, they’re called simply chile verde;
in the southwest part of the United States, they can be labeled Anaheim (after one of the original cultivars), California, New Mexico
and mild chile pods, among other names.
Fresh Chiles
CHILE, POWDERED (chile en polvo): For something hot, the choices
are endless: There’s the plain old cayenne pepper (which, apparently,
is made from a variety of small hot peppers), but I don’t think it has
as much flavor as the powdered chile de ГЎrbol available in Mexican
groceries. The ground chile piquín won’t irritate the stomach, they
say, but it’s so hot I like to mix it with a little milder powdered
guajillo or New Mexico/California chile. Most all of what’s labeled
“chile/chili powder” in the United States contains spices in addition
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 533
to the powdered mild chile. Because it loses its flavor and color, buy
it only in small quantities and store it in a sealed jar in a cool place.
CHICHARRONES: These are the porous, crackling-crisp, deep-fried
sheets of pork rind that are available throughout Mexico—in the
meat stalls in markets, from baskets on the streets and on appetizer
plates in traditional restaurants. They are one of Mexico’s favorite
snacks. The freshest, tenderest chicharrones are ones that have just
been fried (you’ll find them in huge golden sheets in many Mexican
groceries on weekends). Most of our grocery stores carry small
packages (labeled “pork rinds”), though they never seem to taste as
good as the ones from Mexican stores.
CHOCOLATE: The somewhat dark, rather coarse-ground Mexican
chocolate is whipped with milk or water for the classic Mexican
warm beverage, and a little is ground with the spices for mole poblano.
Mexican chocolate never completely melts as ours does. One brand
or another is sold in all Mexican groceries and many chain supermarkets. I like the flavor of the commonly available Ibarra brand because
it includes almonds and a good portion of cinnamon, both of which
make it quite rich; the 3.3-ounce Ibarra tablets are what I’ve called
for throughout the book. Other brands (Abuelita, Morelia, Presidencial and so forth) are fairly comparable, though the tablets of each
brand are a different size. Wrapped in plastic and stored at room
temperature, Mexican chocolate keeps for a year or more.
CHORIZO: This Mexican sausage is fresh pork sausage, flavored
with a fair portion of dried chile, numerous spices and a good shot
of vinegar. It must be cooked before eating and is generally used
crumbled (it doesn’t slice well after cooking). The Spanish chorizo
occasionally available in the United States and Mexico is usually a
cured sausage and doesn’t really make a comparable substitute.
Most Mexican groceries with butchers make their own chorizo (and
it varies widely); other Mexican groceries often carry it frozen. Rarely
is any of the North American—made chorizo as good as what you’ll
make following the recipe. Refrigerated, chorizo will keep for 1 week
or more; frozen, it lasts several months.
CILANTRO: See Coriander, Fresh
534 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Cinnamon sticks
CINNAMON (canela): According to a spice buyer at one of the
largest packers of Mexican foodstuffs, the shaggy-looking, tightly
packed, multilayered cinnamon sticks that are sold in U.S. Mexican
groceries (they closely resemble those sold in Mexico) are from
Ceylon, which all the authoritative spice books say produces the
true cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). These sticks are softer and
much easier to grind than the prettier, more agressively scented,
darker cinnamon sticks from the related cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
tree. The latter are what show up in most grocery stores—ideal for
use as swizzle sticks, but I don’t like them much for cooking. Measurements in this book are for chunks of the shaggy-looking cinnamon
stick (roughly ВЅ inch in diameter); it can be powdered in a mortar
or with an electric spice grinder.
CITRUS FRUITS: Any peripatetic marketgoer in Mexico could write
a book on the citrus varieties available: from the everyday limes,
tangerines, oranges and grapefruits, to at least 3 other lime varieties,
shaddocks, citrons, china lima, naranja lima, mandarina reina, bitter
oranges and innumerable crosses. For cooking purposes, bitter oranges and limes are most important.
Bitter Oranges: Also called sour orange, Seville orange and, in
Spanish, naranja agria (literally “sour orange”), small quantities of
this large, rough-skinned fruit can be found sporadically throughout
Mexico, while in YucatГЎn it is abundant. In most countries, these
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 535
oranges are prized for their highly aromatic skin (to use in
marmalade, liqueurs and the like), but in Mexico only the juice is
used. To me, the juice has an unmistakable citrus flavor, a little like
grapefruit with only a hint of orange flavor; it’s nearly as tart as a
lemon. Only once have I seen bitter oranges in a U.S. market, though
some experts say they do show up occasionally during winter
months. Without them, I make a similar-tasting substitute juice as
follows:
MOCK BITTER ORANGE JUICE
YIELD:
1 generous cup
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
12 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
ВЅ teaspoon finely minced orange zest (colored part only)
Mix all the ingredients in a noncorrosive bowl and let stand 2 to
3 hours; strain to remove the zest. Use within 24 hours.
Limes: The most common variety in Mexico is the small Mexican or
Key lime that turns yellow as it ripens; its juice is more tart than our
darker-green Persian/Tahitian (seedless) limes. Mexican limes rarely
show up in markets in the United States, except in some large Mexican communities and some parts of Florida. In Mexican Spanish,
limes are called limones, which sounds like the English for lemon—but
they are not lemons; there is a limГіn dulce, a sweet variety of lime,
but it is not widely found. There are sweet and sour limas, too, distinguished by the pronounced nipple on the blossom end and very
unusual taste. In the Guadalajara market, they serve the juice of the
sweet lima, while in YucatГЎn, among other places, the sour lima is
squeezed into broth to flavor it. I have found our yellow lemons
sold commercially only in northwest Mexico, where they are called
limГіnes reales.
COCOUNTS (cocos): Fresh coconuts are available in grocery stores
year round. Choose ones that contain lots of liquid and ones in which
the 3 eyes are not soft or modly. A good coconut will keep for several
weeks in the refrigerator.
536 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
To Hull and Peel a Coconut:
Drive an ice pick (or twist a corkscrew) into 2 of the holes, then
drain the liquid (what’s often called “cocount water” or sometimes
erroneously “coconut milk”) into a cup. Place the coconut in a preheated 325° oven for 15 minutes (this loosens the flesh from the
shell), crack it into large pieces with a hammer, then pry the meat
from the shell. Using a small knife or a vegetable peeler, trim off the
dark skin from the coconut meat; then grate or chop.
COMAL: See Cooking Equipment
COOKING EQUIPMENT: To do Mexican cooking well, there is
really little out-of-the-ordinary equipment that is necessary: Most
anyone who likes to cook will have the right collection of knives,
pots, pans, skillets, bowls and so forth. Specifically, you’ll find it
useful to have an inexpensive medium-mesh sieve and, if possible,
the following characteristically Mexican items.
a sampling of regional caguelas
Earthenware bean pots (ollas)
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 537
Cooking Pots: The traditional pots are earthenware, low-fired and
glazed on the inside only. Wider ones, shaped like flat-bottomed
bowls, are cazuelas for cooking stews and such; taller ones that narrow toward the top are ollas for beans and soups. There are also
special ollas for brewing coffee and beating chocolate. According to
the experts, the glazes contain lead; I cook in them anyway, as the
Mexicans have for centuries, but I heed the FDA’s recommendation
that nothing (especially anything acidic) should be stored in them.
These even-cooking pots are made for use directly over a flame; you
can “season” the pan by boiling water in it first (it’s a good idea to
do it every time if you use the pot infrequently), and some cooks
recommend that you rub the unglazed outside with a clove of garlic
to eliminate an overly earthy taste. That taste, however, is the reason
most cooks like ollas and cazuelas made of barro (“clay”). On the
other hand, they are slow to heat and quite breakable, so many cooks
are switching to aluminum or enamelware (peltre).
And, if you’re serious about equipment, take my recommendation
and buy a 12-inch cast-iron skillet for frying, a large Dutch oven for
braising and a large steamer for tamales. And keep your eye out for
bright-colored serving platters and bowls; your Mexican food will
look beautiful in them.
Griddles: The original griddles, called comales in Spanish, were made
of clay; though clay griddles are still available in parts of Southern,
Central and West-Central Mexico, they’ve mostly been replaced by
flat pieces of steel—many of which remind me of well-seasoned
French omelГ©t and crepe pans. Cast-iron griddles are commonly
available in the North, and that is my choice because they are easy
to season and they heat so evenly.
538 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Lava nock and earthenware mortars
(molcajete and chirmolera)
Lava nock grinding stone (metate)
Grinding Implements: For centuries, Mexican cooks have used the
three-legged basalt mortars (molcajetes) and pestles (tejolotes) for
grinding spices, tomatoes, tomatillos and the like; a medium-size one
is about 8 inches across, 5 inches high, holds about 1 quart and is
made from basalt (lava rock) that is very heavy and not too porous.
Larger quantities or drier mixtures (such as corn for masa, reconstituted dried chiles, nuts and so on) have long been ground to a paste
on a sloping, three-legged basalt metate (12 Г— 18 inches), using a
basalt mano (resembling a slightly flattened rolling pin) to work the
ingredients back and forth. The rather backbreaking grinding is done
on a downward slope into a bowl that sits at the lower end. Though
a blender actually chops more than grinds, it commonly replaces
both the molcajete and the metate in Mexico and almost exclusively
replaces them in the United States. The blades of a food processor
are slower than those of a blender (they won’t completely puree the
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 539
harder substances like nuts, chile skins and so on), so the machine
isn’t terribly useful for Mexican cooking. I keep a molcajete out at all
times, using it to pulverize small quantities of spices; an electric
spice/coffee grinder works well for large quantities and for pulverizing nuts. For the adventurous cook who wants to make a sauce in
the molcajete, first grind the hardest ingredients (like onion, garlic
and fresh chile), then add the softer items (like tomatoes) and finish
your work.
Tortilla Presses: Rather than improvise by pressing corn-tortilla dough
between plates, I highly recommend spending the few dollars they
ask for a tortilla press; the results will be in your favor. Most are cast
iron or aluminum; I like the stable, heavier iron and I suggest you
look for a press that shows about 1/8-inch clearance between the
plates on the hinge side. In Mexico, presses made from mesquite
wood are also available, especially around Guadalajara.
Mesquite-wood and cast-iron tortilla presses
CORIANDER, FRESH (cilantro): In the last half-decade, luckily,
this pungently aromatic, sprightly flavored herb (not to be confused
with the coriander seeds from the same plant) has found its way into
groceries and markets nearly everywhere. It is an essential garnish
for many tacos and is critical in sauces like Salsa Mexicana and in
Seviche. Cilantro is a fragile herb, so choose bunches that look healthy,
not yellowing or wilted; the leaves should be full-grown, not feathery. All but the coarsest stems can be used. Stored in a glass of water,
loosely covered with a plastic bag and refrigerated, fresh coriander
will last for a week or more; bunches with roots attached will keep
longer. Its aromatic flavor is diminished by cooking or drying. Pureed with vegetable oil, packed into jars, topped with a little oil and
refrigerated, it can be kept for months, though a certain freshness
will be lost.
540 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Fresh coriander (ciantro)
CORN, DRIED FIELD (maГ­z): Though the only readily available
dried corn kernels most of us know is popcorn, dried field corn (the
white—occasionally yellow—nonsweet, starchy corn that is used to
make the dough (masa) for corn tortillas or tamales) can be purchased
in some Mexican groceries (where it is generally sold for pozole
making). A more sure bet is to buy it from a tortilla factory (ask for
maíz seco en grano); I’ve also bought dried field corn in feed stores,
where it’s sold for the chickens (make sure the kernels are goodlooking, whole kernels and that they haven’t been sprayed with
anything you don’t want to eat). For the prettiest, whole-kernel
hominy and the best-textured masa for tamales, Mexican cooks like
the large-kerneled, maíz cacahuazincle; unfortunately, I haven’t seen
it for sale in the United States. Whole dried blue corn, which can be
purchased in parts of our Southwest (and in some specialty food
shops), is another variety of starchy field corn and is sometimes used
for tortilla dough. Stored tightly covered in a dry place, field corn
will keep for at least 1 year.
CORNHUSKS (hojas de maГ­z): These dried husks from the large
ears of field corn are used to wrap tamales (and occasionally other
food) in Mexico. Some chain supermarkets and nearly all Mexican
groceries carry them. Choose the longest ones and make sure they’re
not bug-eaten or ripped. Wrapped and stored in a dry place, they
will keep at least 1 year.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 541
EPAZOTE: This is a pungent-smelling, jagged-leaf herb/weed,
growing about 2ВЅ feet high. You may very likely have pulled it out
of your garden: Many gardeners call it pigweed; English-speaking
herbalists call it wormseed, Jerusalem oak and pazote, among other
names, and they use it as an anthelmintic. It is rarely used in
Northern and West-Central cooking; elsewhere it is famous with
black beans, in cheese quesadillas and in certain moles and tomato or
tomatillo sauces. Some say it is an acquired taste; in any case, many
dishes lack a certain authenticity of flavor without it. In YucatГЎn, it
is called apazote. Occasionally, epazote can be found along with other
produce in large Mexican communities: in Los Angeles, I rarely saw
it (thГіugh it grew as a weed in the flower bed outside my apartment);
in Chicago, it shows up frequently in the larger Mexican groceries,
and in Cleveland, it was overtaking a friend’s garden. I have airdried it with only minor loss of flavor, and now I’ve discovered a
local spice company doing the same (roughly, a generous teaspoon
of crumbled dried leaves equals 1 branch—7 leaves—epazote); dried
works best in cooked dishes (that is, not quesadillas). When sold by
the herbalists, it is mostly stems. They have the epazote flavor, but
they should only be used in beans…perhaps a sauce.
Epazote
GUAVAS (guayabas): When you find fresh guavas in a well-stocked
grocery store or Latin American market, they’ll be plum-sized with
a thin, yellowish-green skin and a salmon-colored or off-white flesh;
542 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
they’re ripe when just softening and very aromatic. Once ripe, they
may be refrigerated for several days. I think of guavas as a late
fall/winter crop, but I’ve seen them in the markets at other times as
well. What is sold as pineapple guava (it is green-skinned) is really
feijoa; it has a similar taste but is unrelated.
HOJA SANTA: This large, soft leaf (Piper sanctum) and its immediate
relatives have a complex herby-spiciness with a strong, driving,
anise flavor. It is popular in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, Tabasco
and a little in YucatГЎn, and it changes name more frequently than
any other herb I know: I’ve personally heard hierba santa, acuyo,
mumu, momo, and hoja de Santa MarГ­a; one scholarly source lists 27
common names. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen this herb in the
United States (or found a reference to it—hence no English name),
so I’ve developed adequate substitutes for each recipe. Should you
buy some in Mexico, air-dry the leaves, then crumble them and use
1 tablespoon or more where a leaf is called for.
JAMAICA: The rather small, dried Jamaica “flowers” are not flowers
at all, but the deep-red calyxes (what cover the blossoms before they
open) from a plant that goes by a variety of names. In health-food
stores, look for Jamaica flowers, hibiscus flowers, roselle and Jamaica
sorrel (they’re the red of Red Zinger tea). In Mexican groceries look
for Jamaica or flores de jamaica. To make a lively-tasting drink, choose
deep-crimson “flowers”; older ones lose their color and flavor. Stored
tightly covered in a dry place, they will last about 1 year.
Jamaica “flowers”
JERKY (carne seca): In large Mexican communities, some of the
butchers will make it, and in the western United States, it is not difficult to find. If you’re looking for store-bought jerky for recipes in
this book (instead of making your own, look for pieces with even
color and no signs of frayed edges. Never buy the easily chewable
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 543
“jerky” that has been chopped up and put back together like particle
board. Lightly wrapped and kept in a dry place, jerky keeps for
several months.
JГЌCAMA: In Mexico, this brown-skinned roughly beet-shaped root
vegetable is usually eaten raw, frequently with no more than a squirt
of lime, a little salt and some hot powdered chile. It has a crisp texture and gentle sweetness reminiscent of fresh water chestnuts; it is
more porous, though, and often sweeter, which explains its affinity
with fruit. The jícama harvest begins in the fall in Mexico, but I’ve
seen jГ­cama in Mexican groceries and some chain supermarkets year
round in the United States. The smaller ones are sweeter and won’t
be woody. Choose ones that are firm and show no sign of molding
or shriveling. Depending on its state when purchased, a jГ­cama will
keep for several weeks unwrapped in the refrigerator. An average
jГ­cama weighs 1 pound.
JГ­cama
LARD AND OILS (manteca y aceites): In recent years, cheaper vegetable oil has begun to supplant the traditionally Mexican lard, so
I have left the choice up to the cook in most recipes. Let me state
perfectly plainly, though, for those of you who have developed that
inexplicable squeemishness about lard, that according to the USDA,
lard has less than half the cholesterol of ordinary, respectable butter.
I use lard when I want its flavor (just as I use butter), but I always
buy a rich-tasting, home-rendered one from the Mexican market. If
a good lard is unavailable, render your own pork fat rather than
choosing the flavorless, hydrogenated loaves of lard commonly
available in grocery stores. Many kinds of vegetable oils are available
in Mexico, most of them sunflower (girasol) or safflower (cГЎrtamo)
oils; mixed vegetable and soy-bean oil are currently making inroads;
corn oil (aceite de maГ­z) seems to be in abundant supply in western
544 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Mexico. Olive oil (aceite de oliva), most of which comes from northern
Baja California, is rarely used in traditional public food. I’ve called
for it in some recipes, where typical or used on occasion. Mexican
olive oil is rather aggressive, in the Spanish style, so occasionally I
mix it with vegetable oil.
LETTUCE (lechuga): Romaine (lechuga orejona) still seems to reign
as the lettuce of preference in Mexico, though head (iceberg) lettuce
(lechuga romana or lechuga de bola) is becoming more popular (especially in the North) and leaf lettuce is all you’ll find in Yucatán.
LIME, SLAKED (cal): Not to be confused with the citrus fruit, this
white powdery substance is calcium hydroxide, also known as
builder’s or mason’s lime. The first Mexicans probably made it from
burning seashells, and they used it both to set stucco and to treat
dried corn, making the corn more digestible and more nutritious.
North American cooks have used it to firm cucumbers before pickling
(Mexicans use it in like fashion to firm fruit before candying). It is
available here in builders’ hardware stores (in large quantities) and
in pharmacies (ask for slaked lime/calcium hydroxide powder),
though I heartily recommend that you take a jar to a tortilla factory
and ask them to fill it with cal; then you’ll know you’ve got the right
thing for making hominy and tortilla or tamal dough. Stored in a
dry place and well sealed, it will keep indefinitely. Quicklime (calcium oxide) is also sold in markets in Mexico, in rocky-looking pieces.
It must first be “slaked” by placing it in water (there will be a strong,
immediate reaction and lots of bubbling) then allowing it to stand
for a few minutes until all activity has stopped; this water is then
used for cooking the corn.
LIMES: See Citrus Fruits
MASA: Though technically the word means “dough” in Spanish, in
Mexico it is generally understood to be “corn dough,” the ubiquitous
dough of tortillas and tamales. Fresh masa—made from treated,
soaked, ground field corn and water—can be purchased at tortilla
factories in 2 ways: with a smooth consistency for making tortillas
and, upon request (if you’re lucky), with a coarser consistency for
making tamales. (Be careful to differentiate between masa para tamales
and masa preparada para tamales: The latter, available at some tortilla
factories and large Mexican groceries, is the coarse-textured masa
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 545
mixed with lard and flavorings.) If there is a choice, buy from a tortilla factory that makes the whitest masa, generally indicating that
the bitter cal used to treat the corn has been washed off completely;
the only time white doesn’t equal pure is when the masa is made
from yellow corn. For tortillas, the fresh dough should be wrapped,
refrigerated and used within 1 day. If using within a few hours,
there is no need to refrigerate. Even before the masa spoils (3 or 4
days), it will lose the plasticity crucial to making light tortillas. Masa
for tamales can be frozen for a month or more, well wrapped. When
fresh masa is called for in this book, the smooth-ground masa for
tortillas should be used, unless otherwise indicated.
MASA HARINA: This powdery-looking meal, sold in many chain
supermarkets and all Mexican groceries, is fresh corn masa that has
been force-dried and then powdered. It is not at all the same as fineground corn meal, in either taste or application. It is certainly more
readily available to the average cook than the quick-perishing fresh
masa, but the flavor is a little different. The Quaker Oats brand is
most common, though I have had better luck with the Maseca brand,
occasionally available in Mexican groceries in the United States.
Stored in a dry place and well wrapped, it will last a year or so.
METATE: See Cooking Equipment
MOLCAJETE: See Cooking Equipment
NOPAL CACTUS: See Cactus Paddles
NUTS AND SEEDS (nueces y pepitas): When the word nuez is used
in Mexico, it usually refers to the native pecan. Walnuts are quite
common, especially in Central Mexico, and they’re called nuez de
Castilla (“nut of Castille”). The rest of the world’s nuts can show up,
too, where you least expect to find them. Peanuts are a New World
crop (though not truly a nut) and they’re a popular street food
(sprinkled with chile or entombed in caramel). In Campeche, there
are cashews, though the fruit (maraГ±Гіn) seems to be more highly
prized than the nut. Pumpkinseeds (that is, seeds from a great variety
of green/tan pumpkins or other large squash) have been eaten by
Mexicans since the dawn of history. In Mexico, they can be purchased
shell-on, hulled, raw, toasted or ground, and each variety has its
particularities of taste and texture. For the recipes in this book, I’ve
546 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
called only for the hulled, untoasted, pointed, flat green pumpkinseeds that can be found in most health-food stores and nearly all
Mexican groceries (they’re often called simply pepitas). Stored in the
freezer (like all nuts) and well wrapped, pumpkinseeds will last 6
months or more. They are commonly toasted before they’re ground
into a sauce or eaten out of hand.
OLIVE OIL: See Lard and Oils
OLLA: See Cooking Equipment
ONIONS (cebollas): By far, the most commonly used onion in
Mexico is the white one, and you can frequently buy them just-dug,
with their green tops still attached. Second most common is the red
onion, but its role seems to be more as a garnish than a part of general cooking. Yellow onions seldom make an appearance…which I
think is understandable when you taste them side by side with the
white ones: The yellows have a muddy flavor compared to the clean,
definitively oniony taste of the whites. As called for in this book, a
small onion weighs about 4 ounces, a medium one is about 6 ounces
and a large one about 8 ounces. A medium red onion weighs 8 to
10 ounces.
Fresh-dug white onions (cebollas)
OREGANO: As has happened with some other herbs and spices,
the Spanish word orГ©gano has become a blanket term to cover just
about any herb that tastes vaguely like oregano. In the Monterrey
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 547
market alone, I bought 3 different oreganos in one stall (labeled by
place of origin: San Luis PotosГ­, Durango and Nuevo LeГіn), all of
which had a very different leaf. As best I can tell, the most commonly
sold variety, and the one imported to the United States as Mexican
oregano, is in the verbena family: Lippia Berlandieri Shawer, Lippia
graveolens H.B.K. or Lippia Palmeria wats; its aroma and taste are
certainly distinct from the Mediterranean oregano (Origanum vulgare
L.). Look for leaf Mexican oregano (usually including a few stems)
in Mexican groceries and some health-food or specialty shops (Spice
Islands even packs it); the leaves are deeply veined, ВЅ to Вѕ inch long,
with a rough, matte surface (they are a little fuzzy when fresh).
PARSLEY, FLAT-LEAF (perejil): In some parts of the country, it is
difficult to find this very flavorful parsley, often called Italian parsley.
Though the everyday curly parsley can be substituted, the flavor is
much weaker.
PEPITAS: See Nuts and Seeds
Flat-leaf parsley (perejil)
PILONCILLO: This is the old-fashioned, hard, tawny-brown unrefined sugar that flavors certain traditional dishes; the name refers
to the conical or truncated pyramidal shape. Other names include
panela (used throughout the southern and southeastern states) and
panocha (a less specific term that also covers some candies). Though
all varieties taste like a particularly molassesy brown sugar, you
occasionally have the choice between lighter (blanco or claro) or
548 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
darker (oscuro or prieto). The most common shape for Mexican unrefined sugar (and the one most frequently imported to the United
States) is a truncated cone, either small (roughly Вѕ ounce) or large
(about 9 ounces). The cones are very hard; I find it easiest to chop
them up with a serrated knife, though chopping piloncillo is never
easy. It is available at most Latin American groceries and occasionally
it’ll be mixed in with the Mexican goods in a well-stocked chain supermarket. Stored in a dry place and well wrapped, it lasts indefinitely.
Unrefined sugar (piloncillo)
PLANTAIN (plГЎtano macho): This is the large, rather thickskinned
cooking banana with a yellowish flesh; an average one is 9 to 11
inches long, weighing 10 to 12 ounces. It is used extensively in the
Caribbean, often when green and not yet sweet (it’s not unlike a
potato). In Mexico, plantains are most frequently used fully ripe
(soft, with an almost completely blackened skin), when they have
developed their full sweetness. Most any Latin American or wellstocked grocery will carry them. They take several days to ripen, so
plan ahead, but once ripe, they may be refrigerated for several days.
Some will have a woody core that needs to be cut out.
PRICKLY-PEAR CACTUS FRUIT (tuna): This is the greenish-yellow
oval fruit of the prickly pear (nopal) cactus; an average one is about
3 inches long and weighs about 3 ounces. It has almost imperceptibly
tiny spines at nodes all over the outside, so handle it very carefully.
The inner flesh is mildly sweet (with overtones of melon) and filled
with tiny seeds. If you’re lucky, the flesh will be a beautiful, deepcrimson/purple. They are most plentiful in the fall and in Mexican
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 549
groceries. I’ve also seen them in run-of-the-mill supermarkets, Greek
fruit stands, you name it. Choose ones that are not blemished, then
store them for up to a month, lightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.
In a Mexican grocery, be careful not to get the tuna agria (“sour
prickly pear,” a.k.a. xoconostle) used in parts of Central and WestCentral Mexico for flavoring soups.
Prickly pear cactus fruit (tuna)
PUMPKINSEEDS: See Nuts and Seeds
To Make Mexican-Style Radish Roses:
Holding a radish root-side up, use a small pointed knife to score
it at 3/8-inch intervals, making each incision 1/8 inch deep and cutting from the pointed root down to the stem. Next, free a “petal” by
cutting between 2 scores just below the surface (holding the blade
almost parallel to the surface), starting at the root and stopping just
before you reach the stem end; free the rest of the “petals” in the
same way. Soak in ice water for at least ½ hour, so the “petals” will
open out further and become firm.
Scoring the radish at intervals
550 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
Slicing between the scores to release the “petals”
finished radish roses
RADISHES (rГЎbanos): The behemoth, long red radishes that are
prized for figure carving during Oaxaca’s Christmastime radish
festival may be dazzling, but everyday radishes are used to decorate
all kinds of Mexican food. They’re often carved into roses, leaving
the leafy part attached.
RICE (arroz): Though most Mexican cookbooks printed in the United
States call for long-grain rice (and Mexico’s cookbooks simply call
for arroz), I’ve mostly found what looks like a medium-size grain
used in Mexico. It has a meatier, less “puffy” texture when it is
cooked. I like the medium grains, so that is what I recommend, and
the Mexican groceries around Chicago carry at least as much medium-grain rice as they do long-grain, which says something, I think.
SEVILLE ORANGES: See Citrus Fruit
SQUASH BLOSSOMS (flores de calabaza): These are the long
(about 5-inch) blossoms from the hard squash (like pumpkin, not
zucchini) that are sold with a good-size piece of stem intact. They
are not very common in the United States, except occasionally in
specialty or Italian groceries; little zucchinis with blossoms still at-
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 551
tached have lately become quite chic, but that’s not the same. Though
I’ve not grown them myself, one gardener tells me that you only
pick the male pumpkin flowers (they won’t bear fruit). When I buy
them in Mexico, I use them the same day; they don’t keep well.
Squash blossoms (flores de calabaga)
TAMARIND PODS: These 4-inch, slightly curved, brown pods
(they look like oversize bean pods) are from a tall, originally Asian
tree. The very tart, rich-brown insides are used for a drink in Mexico.
Look for them in many Latin American groceries and even some
chain ones. When choosing tamarind pods, flex one between your
hands: If it’s fresh, the barklike shell will come free easily and the
pulp will be soft. If you wind up with some sticky-shelled ones, soak
them in hot water for 5 minutes before peeling.
Tamarind pods
TOMATILLO: This small, plum-size, light-green, tart-tasting fruit
in a papery husk comes to many fresh-produce counters (in large
grocery stores as well as Mexican ones) nowadays; it is the foundation of the most common Mexican green sauces. It is closely related
to the smaller, husk-wrapped ground cherry, the vines of which I’ve
seen creeping through the wild numerous times in the United States.
The husk resembles the related Chinese lantern plant “flowers.” For
552 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
regional names. Always choose unblemished tomatillos that completely fill the husk. Loosely wrapped and refrigerated, they will
last several weeks. The husks come free easily; though I’ve seen the
fruit used raw in a sauce, it is usually simmered or dry-roasted
(either inside the husk or out) until tender. An average tomatillo
weighs 1ВЅ ounces.
Tomatillos
TOMATO (jitomate or tomate): This always-popular red fruit is
generally sold throughout Mexico both in the round variety (jitomate
de bola) and the pear-shaped (jitomate guaje, also called Roma, Italian
or plum tomatoes in the United States). Through Northern Mexico
and from Oaxaca over through YucatГЎn, the name is tomate; in the
rest of the country, they use jitomate. Ripe, fresh tomatoes are essential to many Mexican dishes: pear-shaped tomatoes (to use in cooked
sauces) are available year round in many of our markets (they ripen
on the windowsill quite well). For a wintertime fresh salsa mexicana,
pear-shaped are a little too pulpy, so I sometimes use ripe cherry
tomatoes and squeeze out their seeds. When good, fresh tomatoes
are unavailable, most cooked sauces can be made with a top-quality
brand of canned tomatoes (preferably pear-shaped ones) that are
packed in juice. In most public cooking, fresh tomatoes are used.
For cooked stews and sauces, fresh tomatoes are usually cooked
first, either by boiling (actually simmering) them until tender or by
roasting them directly on a griddle; then they are peeled, cored and,
for a refined dish, seeded. For garnishes and relishy salsas, fresh tomatoes are simply cored and chopped. As called for in this book, a
medium-small tomato weighs 6 ounces, a medium-large is 8 ounces
and a large weighs 10 ounces. An average pear-shaped tomato
weighs 2ВЅ ounces.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 553
To Boil Tomatoes:
Simply place them in water to cover, bring to a boil and simmer
over medium heat until tender, about 12 minutes, depending on
size and ripeness. Remove with a slotted spoon, cool, gingerly peel
off the skin, then cut out the core.
To Roast Tomatoes:
Roasting tomatoes directly on the griddle can make a mess (the
skins stick and burn), so I usually place a sheet of foil on the griddle
first, then lay on the tomatoes and turn them occasionally for about
15 minutes, depending on size and ripeness, until the flesh is soft
and the skin blistered and blackened. Cool, peel away the skin and
cut out the core. For a very easy, successful alternative, we owe
thanks to Diana Kennedy: Lay the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking
sheet, place as close to a preheated broiler as possible, and let them
roast, turning once, until soft and blackened, 12 to 15 minutes, depending on size. Peel and core (and always use the tasty juice they
exude during roasting). When possible, I always roast fresh tomatoes.
This concentrates and enriches their flavor, while boiling just leaches
it out.
TORTILLAS, CORN: Because store-bought, factory-made corn
tortillas are available in many cities these days, and because they’re
not all created equal, here is a guide to which type of tortilla works
best in the different preparations: Chilaquiles, Other Baked/Simmered
Tortilla Dishes and Soups: Use the same kind of tortilla as for enchiladas (see below). Stale homemade ones will work here. Crisp-Frying
(Tostadas, Chips, Tacos): Use thin tortillas made from rather coarseground masa, preferably ones that are unpuffed and somewhat dry.
At a tortilla factory, you can often buy a special tortilla meeting the
above description if you request tortillas for tostadas or chips. For
the rolled Crispy-Fried Tacos, and even for tostadas and chips,
thicker tortillas are frequently used in Mexico: Fried until just
crisping, they make chewy, meaty tacos; crisp-fried for tostadas or
chips, most North Americans would call them rather hard (and often
greasy). My recommendation is never to use homemade tortillas for
frying. A dozen very thin, 5ВЅ-inch tortillas weigh about 8 ounces.
Enchiladas: Use thick and rather dry tortillas. Thick ones won’t
quickly disintegrate in the sauce, and dry ones won’t absorb quite
554 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
so much oil when they’re quick-fried. Homemade ones will work
here if they’re flexible enough not to crack when rolled. A dozen
rather thick, 5ВЅ-inch tortillas weigh about 11 ounces.
Quesadillas from Ready-Made Tortillas: Use thick and preferably fresh
tortillas: thick so they offer a substantial casing for the filling, and
fresh so they taste good. Very flexible homemade tortillas will work
here.
Tortillas to Serve at the Table: Thick, fresh tortillas are best (see below
for instructions concerning steam-reheating tortillas to eat out of
hand); homemade ones are very good here.
To Steam-Heat Store-Bought or Homemade Corn Tortillas:
Wrap a stack of 12 tortillas in a clean, heavy towel, place in a
steamer over ВЅ inch of water, cover and bring to a boil over mediumhigh heat. When steam comes puffing out from under the lid, time
1 minute, then remove from the fire and let stand 15 to 20 minutes.
Held in a very low oven, the tortillas will stay warm and moist for
an hour or more.
VANILLA (vainilla): Some would say that vanilla, the pod of a
tropical orchid vine, is Mexico’s most distinguished contribution to
this planet’s spices. The Spaniards learned of the precious stuff from
the Aztecs, who had early on discovered how to repeatedly sweat
and dry the pods to develop the white crystalline vanillin—a compound that isn’t found in the uncured pod. Today, vines transplanted
to Madagascar supply most of the vanilla in our markets, though
the Mexican bean is still well respected. In Mexico, vanilla is used
almost without exception in liquid form, and, I am sorry to report,
little of it is pure extract. In fact, most of that famous/infamous inexpensive Mexican vanilla (like Molina and Paisa brands) gets its
very distinctive “vanilla” scent from coumarin, a fragrant chemical
substance that occurs in tonka beans; the FDA has banned the import
of coumarin-laden vanilla to the United States because high doses
of coumarin are harmful. In many Mexican resorts, pure vanilla extract is available for the tourists, but brands vary widely; in Papantla,
Veracruz, at the heart of the chief vanilla-growing area, I’ve bought
a good pure extract (VaiMex brand) as well as good vanilla beans.
If you use the Mexican vanilla a la Molina, et al. (I’ve grown rather
fond of the flavor), you’ll probably want to use a little less than
normal.
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 555
VEGETABLE OILS: See Lard and Oils
VINEGAR (vinagre): Probably the most common commercially
made vinegar in Mexico (aside from distilled white) is made from
pineapples; in the North, I’ve also seen quite a bit of apple vinegar.
In the markets, however, it’s not unusual to find a remarkably mild
fruit vinegar made from whatever is in abundance: pineapples in
Oaxaca, bananas in Tabasco and so forth from town to town. In
translating recipes from cookbooks printed in Mexico, I’ve found
that the quantities of vinegar called for frequently make an overly
sharp dish; no doubt many of the recipes were written for the milder,
weaker homemade stuff. I have adjusted all the recipes in this book
for 5 percent acetic acid, “table strength” vinegar (all testing was
done with Heinz apple-cider vinegar).
*
Upon stepping into the field of chile research, one is flooded with
a jumble of information, much of it contradictory. I’ve tried to pull
out the information that will be most useful to the cook, as well as
to answer the basic questions most often asked in my classes.
FINDING MEXICAN
INGREDIENTS
Nowadays, Mexican communities dot the United States. There are
little Mexican groceries, big supermercados and tortilla factories
springing up in places that only a few years ago could offer nothing
more adventurous than bottled taco sauce or a can of jalapeГ±os. Many
chain groceries now keep fresh coriander beside their parsley, stock
several varieties of fresh peppers, and from time to time mix in fresh
tomatillos or jГ­cama or plantains with the Oriental cabbage and other
new standards.
In the notes that accompany the recipes, I’ve tried to reflect the
current general availability of Mexican ingredients throughout much
of the United States. Not all cooks, however, will find such ready
access, so for them I recommend the following. First, really scour
the national chain groceries (because they often carry much of the
same produce and canned foods across the country, and they often
have Mexican goods, even outside the Southwest). Second, look
under “groceries” in the Yellow Pages and explore any that have
Hispanic names (all the Mexican ones will have your basic supplies;
Puerto Rican, Cuban or Central American ones will have some stock
that will be of interest to you). Third, look under “tortilla factories”
in the Yellow Pages (there might be one closer than you think, and
it’s not uncommon for them to carry groceries, too). As a last resort,
order a stock of nonperishables by mail:
Casa Moneo
210 W. 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
La Preferida Inc.
3400 W. 35th Street
Chicago, IL 60632
Or order seeds for grow-your-own produce:
J. A. Mako Horticultural Enterprises
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 557
P.O. Box 34082
Dallas, TX 75234
Listing Mexican markets in cities across the United States seems
superfluous to me; so many go in and out of business every week.
However, several large markets that I never pass up the chance to
visit are:
The Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
El Mercado
1st Avenue and Lorena
East Los Angeles, CA 90063
Supermercado Cardenas
3922 N. Sheridan
Chicago, IL 60613
Casa del Pueblo
1810 Blue Island
Chicago, IL 60608
SELECTED
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INDEX
Note: Entries in this index, carried over verbatim from the print
edition of this title, are unlikely to correspond to the pagination of
any given e-book reader. However, entries in this index, and other
terms, may be easily located by using the search feature of your ebook reader.
Acapulco, egg dishes in, 112
accordion-cutting meat, 57, 58
aceites, 346
acelgas guisadas, 275–276
achiote, 53, 324
grinding, 66
seasoning paste, Yucatecan, 65, 66–67
achiote, 53, 324
recado rojo, 65, 66–67
adobada, 65
adobo(s), 53, 64–65
charcoal-grilled game hens in, 255
charcoal-grilled pork loin with rich red-chile sauce, 254–256
with powdered chiles, 64
sheets of pork in, 59–60
as stew, 255
adobo(s), 53, 64–65
de achiote, 65
lomo de puerco en, 254–256
aguacate(s), 324
pollo y chile chipotle en frío, 128–129
aguacate, hojas de, 324
barbacoa de pollo, estilo guerrerense, 235–237
aguas frescas, 307–311
horchata, 309–310
de jamaica, 307–308
preparada de limón rallado, 310–311
564 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
sangria de jamaica, 307
de tamarindo, 307, 308–309
aguas preparadas, 309
ajo, al mojo de:
calabacitas, 274–275
chayotes, 275
pescado, 215–216
albóndigas de camarón, sopa de, 102–104
alcohol, see spirits
all-raw tomatillo relish, 37
almГ­bar, guavas en, 297
almond(s):
flan, 283–284
minced pork with raisins, sweet spices and, 132–133
-rice cooler, 309–310
ancho chiles, 332
Andrea, Sor, 196, 199
Andrews, Jean, 330
annatto, 324
antojitos, 119–192
budГ­n de tortillas, 174
burritos de machaca, 141–142
chilaquiles verdes o rojos, 172–174
chivichangas, 142
empanadas de picadillo, 150–152
entomatadas, 154
gorditas de chile con queso, 170–172
pan de camarones, 162
pan de cazón, 161–162
panuchos yucatecos con pollo, 166–168
quesadillas fritas, 143–145; see also quesadillas, rellenos para
sopes tapatíos, 168–170
tostadas de chileajo, 165–166
tostadas de pollo, 163–164
see also enchiladas; tacos; tacos, rellenos para; tamal(es)
appetizers, 25, 79–84
gorditas, 172
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 565
lime-marinated mackerel with tomato and green chile, 83–84
melted cheese with roasted peppers and chorizo, 82–83
queso fundido with roasted peppers and fresh herbs, 82
scallop seviche with chipotle, 84
seviche for tostadas, 84
shrimp seviche, 84
sopes, 168–169
see also first courses; salads
apples, cinnamon-poached, 297
armadillo, 240
Armelagos, George, 16
aromatic spices:
chicken thighs with vinegar, oil and, 230–231
oysters poached with mild vinegar and, Tabasco-style, 220–222
arrachera, 138
al carbón, 138–139
Arroyo restaurant, Mexico City, 318
arroz, 26, 260, 261, 351
horchata de, 309–310
con leche, 286–287
a la mexicana (con verduras), 263–264
a la poblana, 264–265
verde, 266–267
asar technique, 21–22
ashoshoco, 105
atole(s), 304
chocolate, 317
nut, 317
pineapple, 317
strawberry, 317
atole(s), 304
de chocolate (champurrado), 317
aves, 223–237
pato en pipián rojo, 225–228
poblano de guajolote, 197–200
see also pollo
avocado(s), 324
566 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
cold chicken and, with chipotle chile, 128–129
dressing, 90–91
fresh, garbanzo-vegetable soup with smoky broth and, 97–98
pork with smoky tomato sauce, potatoes and, 248–249
relish, savory golden country ribs with, 252–253
shredded-beef salad with chipotle chile and, 85–86
shrimp with toasted garlic and, 215–216
smoked chicken salad with chipotle and, 129
spicy scrambled eggs with bacon, cheese and, 115
in street food, 46
see also guacamole
avocado leaves, 324
chilied chicken steamed with, 235–237
azadura:
pan-fried chicken livers with tomatillo sauce, 130–131
with tomatillo, roasted garlic and mustard, 130
azadura con salsa verde, 130–131
Azcorra, Eduardo, 232
Aztecs, 16–17, 18, 25, 175, 194, 224
bacon:
beans with roasted chile, fresh coriander and, 270–271
crispy, charcoal-grilled duck in cashew pipián with, 226–227
spicy scrambled eggs with avocado, cheese and, 115
Baja California–style chile de árbol sauce, 38
banana leaves, 178–179, 233, 325
cooking in, 233
fish in, 234
forming tamales in, 179–180
pork pibil, 234
red-seasoned chicken steamed in, 233–235
Yucatecan baked tamal in, 189–191
barbacoa, 240
chilied chicken steamed with avocado leaves, 235–237
goat or lamb, 237
shredded chicken, for taco fillings, 237
barbacoa, 240
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 567
de pollo, estilo guerrerense, 235–237
barbecue pits, 240–241
Yucatecan, 232
Barrios, Virginia B. de, 319
bean(s), 26, 260, 261
with bacon, roasted chile and fresh coriander, 270–271
brothy, 267–268
frijoles borrachos, 271
frijoles fronterizos, 271
regional specialties, 268
techniques for, 262
Yucatecan “strained,” 267–268
see also black bean(s)
beans, fried, 269–270
fried, from canned beans, 269
fried, keeping warm, 269
“strained,” 270
bebidas, 302–322
agua de jamaica, 307–308
agua de tamarindo, 308–309
agua preparada de limón rallado, 310–311
aguas frescas, 307–311
atole, 304
café, 303–304
cafГ© con leche, 303, 316
café de olla, 315–316
champurrado (atole de chocolate), 317
chocolate, 303, 314–315, 339
horchata, 304, 309–310
licuado de leche y fruta, 312–313
limonada, 311–312
margarita, 303, 320–321
mezcal, 303, 306
polla, 313
ponche, 304
pulque, 303, 304, 305
sangria de jamaica, 307
568 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
sangria mexicana, 322
tequila, 303, 306, 319–321
tequila con sangrita, 319–320
beef, 240
boiled, shredding, 131
brains with pungent Mexican seasonings, 147
broiled, with classic accompaniments, Tampico-style, 243–245
calabacitas with, 126
carne asada with other accompaniments, 244
charcoal-broiled carne asada, 244
charcoal-grilled skirt steak, 138–139
chivichangas, 142
dried, see jerky
drying, 57
flautas, Northern-style, 140
golden-fried brains, 147
and green-chile filling, 131
and jГ­cama salpicГіn, 86
marinated steaks for carne asada, 244–245
picadillo, panuchos with, 167
quick-fried calf’s liver with green mole, 204
quick-fried tips, with Mexican flavors, 241–243
salted, 53
shredded-, salad with avocado and chile chipotle, 85–86
shredded, with tomatoes, Northern-style, 131–132
slivered, with well-browned onions, 135
thin-sliced strips of, fresh or dried to jerky, 57–59
tips a la ranchera, 242
tongue a la veracruzana, 213
Yucatecan shredded beef salad, 85
beer, 305
beverages, see atole(s); chocolate; coffee; coolers; spirits; tequila
birria, 241, 256–257
lamb shank, with chipotle and tomatillo, 258
slow-steamed goat or lamb with mild chile seasoning, 256–258
birria, 241, 256–257
de chivo o de carnero, 256–258
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 569
birthday celebrations, 95
bistec(es), 135
encebollado, 135
recado de, 65–66, 67
bitter orange(s), 340
juice, mock, 340
black bean(s):
chiles rellenos, 247
half-fried tortillas with chicken, pickled onions and, 166–168
soup, 268
stacked tortillas with shark, tomato sauce and, 161–162
tostadas with thick cream, 164
Yucatecan “strained,” 267–268
blackberry:
custard ice cream, 300
ice, 301
blanditas, 73
blenders:
grinding in, 22
making even-textured purees in, 42–43
pureeing mole in, 203–204
pureeing nut- or seed-thickened sauces in, 195
bocoles, 172
Bohemia beer, 305
boiling technique, 21
bolillos, 69
boning:
chicken, 225
duck, 225–226
boysenberry ice, 301
brains:
golden-fried, 147
with pungent Mexican seasonings, 147
soaking, trimming and poaching, 147
brandy sour, tamarind, 308–309
breads:
for Day of the Dead, 282
570 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
French-style, 69
for Three Kings Day, 282
breakfast:
in cafeterías, 27–28
see also eggs
Breviario del mole poblano (Taibo), 35, 196–197
Brillat-Savarin, Anthelme, 314, 315
broiled:
beef with classic accompaniments, Tampico-style, 243–245
charcoal-, carne asada, 244
broth, 61–62
canned chicken, doctored-up for soup, 62
fish, 62–63
smoky, garbanzo-vegetable soup with fresh avocado and, 97–98
brothy beans, 267–268
budГ­n de tortillas, 174
burritas, 142
burritos:
chivichangas, 142
with spicy shredded jerky, 141–142
with variety of fillings, 142
burritos:
chivichangas, 142
de machaca, 141–142
buttered crepes with caramel and pecans, 294–295
butter-fried plantains with thick cream, 295–296
buttermilk, as thickening/souring culture, 51
cactus paddle(s), 325–326
cleaning, 325
cooking, 325–326
eggs with, 115
salad, relishy, 47–48
salad from Puebla, 47
café, 303–304
con leche, 303, 316
de olla, 315–316
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 571
cafeterías, 25, 26, 27–28, 29
cajeta, 292
cooking, 293
crepes with plantain and, 295
fried plantains with cream and, 296
goat-milk caramel with spirits, 293
testing for doneness, 293
cajeta, 292
crepas con, 294–295
de leche envinada, 293
cal, 346
calabacitas:
con crema, 273–274
al mojo de ajo, 274–275
con puerco, 125–126
calabaza, flores de, 351
guisadas, 148
caldo, 61–62
de pescado, 62–63
tlalpeño, 97–98
calf’s liver, quick-fried, with green mole, 204
camarones:
fresco, tortas de, 103
pan de, 162
sopa de albóndigas de, 102–104
a la vinagreta, 127–128
Campeche, organ specialties in, 241
candied sweets, 281–282
canela, 339–340
cantaloupe ice, 301
capers, fish fillets with fresh tomatoes, olives and, 212–214
caramel:
buttered crepes with pecans and, 294–295
custard, vanilla-flavored, 283–284
goat-milk, with spirits, 293
see also cajeta
Carbia, MarГ­a A. de, 285
572 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
carbГіn:
arrachera al, 138–139
tacos al, 137–138
carne(s), 238–258
arrachera al carbón, 138–139
asada a la tampiqueña, 243–245
azadura con salsa verde, 130–131
birria de chivo o de carnero, 256–258
bistec encebollado, 135
burritos de machaca, 141–142
carnitas con guacamole, 252–253
cecina, 53, 58, 59, 60
cecina oreada, 58
con chile colorado, 250–251
chiles rellenos de picadillo, 245–247
deshebrada a la norteña, 131–132
dzik de res, 85
enchilada, 53
machacado con huevo, 117–118
manchamanteles de cerdo y pollo, 206–207
puntas de filete a la mexicana, 241–243
salpicón de res poblano, 85–86
seca, 53, 58, 59, 345
seca, cecina de res y, 57–59
tinga poblana, 248–249
see also chorizo; puerco
carne asada:
charcoal-broiled, 244
marinated steaks for, 244–245
with other accompaniments, 244
steak for, 243–244
carne con chile colorado:
for filling, 251
Sonoran, with powdered chile, 251
carnero, birria de, 256–258
carnitas con guacamole, 252–253
Carta Blanca beer, 305
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 573
cГЎrtamo, 346
cashew(s), 347–348
pipián, charcoal-grilled duck with crispy bacon in, 226–227
Casilda’s aguas frescas stand, Oaxaca, 309, 310–311
casseroles:
layered tortilla, 174
quick-simmered tortilla, with green or red sauce, 172–174
zucchini and pork with Mexican flavors, 125–126
cazón, pan de, 161–162
cazuela(s), 21, 341
tacos de, 122–123; see also tacos, rellenos para
tamales de, 190
cebiche, see seviche
cebolla(s), 348
bistec encebollado, 135
escabeche de, 50
cebollitas asadas, 277–278
cecina, 53, 58, 59, 60
oreada, 58
de res, 57–59
Central Mexico, 23
appetizers in, 80
bean varieties in, 268
cactus-paddle dishes in, 47
chile-based sauces in, 35
chiles in, 335
lamb and kid specialties in, 240–241
pulque in, 305
seafood in, 211
sopes in, 170
soup specialties in, 94–95, 97
tamale specialties in, 177
tortillas in, 74
tripe in, 241
see also Mexico City; Puebla; QuerГ©taro
Cerda y AragГіn, TomГЎs Antonio de la, 196
cerdo, manchamanteles de pollo y, 206–207
574 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chalupas, 170
champurrado (atole de chocolate), 317
charcoal-broiled carne asada, 244
charcoal-grilled:
baby onions with lime, 277–278
chicken, Sinaloa-style, 228–229
chicken tinga, 249
chicken with green chiles, 139
corn with cream, cheese and chile, 272–273
duck in cashew pipián with crispy bacon, 226–227
fillings, soft tacos with, 137–138
fresh tuna or swordfish steaks in escabeche, 231
game hens in adobo, 255
pork, Oaxacan market-style, 139
pork loin with rich red-chile sauce, 254–256
skirt steak, 138–139
veal chops a la veracruzana, 214
chard, see Swiss chard
chayote(s), 326
al mojo de ajo, 275
cheese(s), 326–328
charcoal-grilled corn with cream, chile and, 272–273
chilaquiles with quick-fried chard and Monterey Jack, 174
chiles rellenos, 246–247
crumbling, 327–328
deep-fried masa turnovers with, 143–145
enchiladas, 155
fresh-corn tamales with rajas and, 185
melted, with roasted peppers and chorizo, 82–83
melting, 328
“natural” cream, 288
puffed masa cakes stuffed with chiles and, 170–172
quesadillas, easy griddle-baked, 144–145
red-chile enchiladas with vegetables and, 155–158
regional varieties, 327
spicy scrambled eggs with avocado, bacon and, 115
zucchini with cream and, 273–274
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 575
cheese(s), fresh:
crumbling, 327–328
fish with cream, epazote and, 217
goat, tortilla soup with, 97
with green chiles, 146
sweet pie, 288–289
sweet pie with pine nuts and raisins, 288
toasted tortilla soup with chile pasilla and, 96–97
white-rice pilaf with corn, roasted chiles and, 264–265
chГ­a limeade, 312
Chiapas:
achiote seeds in, 53
appetizers in, 80
bottled pickled vegetables in, 49
cheeses in, 327
chiles in, 335
chocolate in, 303
meats in, 54
pork specialties in, 240
soup specialties in, 94
tamal specialties in, 177
tostadas in, 78
chicharrones, 338–339
chichilo, 194
chicken, 224, 241
and avocado with chipotle chile, cold, 128–129
calabacitas with variation, 126
canned broth, doctored-up for soup, 62
charcoal-grilled, Sinaloa-style, 228–229
chilied, steamed with avocado leaves, 235–237
chilpachole, 101
crispy-fried tacos, 139–141
elaborate manchamanteles for a crowd, 207
enchiladas a la plaza, 157
enchiladas de mole, 159
enchiladas suizas, 154
entomatadas, 154
576 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
-filled enchiladas with tangy tomatillo sauce, 154–155
flautas of a different sort, 140
garbanzo-vegetable soup with smoky broth and fresh avocado,
97–98
grilled, with another flavor, 228–229
grilled, with green chiles, 139
half-fried tortillas with black beans, pickled onions and, 166–168
livers, pan-fried, with tomatillo sauce, 130–131
Oaxacan-style tamales, 191–192
poached, timing, 60
pork and hominy soup with ground pumpkinseeds, 104–106
quartering, 225
quick-simmered tortilla casserole with green or red sauce, 172–174
with rajas and cream, 217
red-seasoned, steamed in banana leaves, 233–235
rich red mole with, 201–203
simple red mole with meat, fowl and fruit, 206–207
smoked, salad with avocado and chipotle, 129
tamales with green sauce and, 181–183
thighs, boning, 225
thighs with vinegar, oil and aromatic spices, 230–231
tinga, charcoal-grilled, 249
tostadas with fresh vegetables and cream, 163–164
XГіchitl soup, 98
Yucatecan baked tamal in banana leaves, 189–191
zucchini with cream and, 273–274
chicken, shredded:
barbacoa for taco fillings, 237
in escabeche, 230–231
filling, flavorful, 132
poached, 60–61
chicken breast(s):
cooking thighs vs., 236
green pumpkinseed mole with, 203–205
half-boning, 225
in tomatillo sauce, simple, 204
Chihuahua:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 577
bean specialties in, 270
cheeses in, 327
chilaquiles, 353
for a crowd, 173
with quick-fried chard and Monterey Jack, 174
quick-simmered tortilla casserole with green or red sauce, 172–174
with scrambled eggs and rajas, 173
chilaquiles, 353
verdes o rojos, 172–174
chile(s), 328–329
ancho, 332
de ГЎrbol, see chile(s) de ГЎrbol
-bathed fish grilled in corn-husks, 218–220
canned or bottled, 330
cascabeles norteГ±os, 109
con carne, 250
con carne, with a nod toward Texas, 251
charcoal-grilled corn with cream, cheese and, 272–273
chipotle(s), see chipotle(s) chile(s)
colorado, see chile colorado
dipping and drying, 245–246
dried, 331–335
-dried beef, 58
eating, cooking with, 330
-flavored sausage, Tolucan, 55–57
fresh, 335–338
green, see green chile(s)
guajillo, 334
gГјero, 337
heat vs. flavor of, 329
hotness of, 329
jalapeГ±o, 337
long-soaking, 254
marinade, see adobo(s)
-marinated pork, pan-fried, 136
-marinated vegetable tostadas, 165–166
as meat preservative, 53
578 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
mulato, 334
New Mexico/California, 334–335
one, red mole with, 202
pasilla, 334
toasted tortilla soup with fresh cheese and, 96–97
paste, 236–237
picante, simmering in soups, 97
pickled, with other vegetables, 48–49
pickled fresh, 330
pickled vegetables with, 49
poblano, 332, 337
pork-stuffed, in savory tomato sauce, 245–247
powdered, 53, 338
powdered, adobo with, 64
puffed masa cakes stuffed with cheese and, 170–172
red, see red chile; red-chile sauce
regional distribution of, 331, 335–336
rellenos, see chiles rellenos
roasted, beans with bacon, fresh coriander and, 270–271
roasted, shrimp and jГ­cama a la vinagreta, 127
roasted, white-rice pilaf with corn, fresh cheese and, 264–265
in sauces, 34
seasoning, mild, slow-steamed goat or lamb with, 256–258
serrano, 337
shredded beef jerky with scrambled eggs and, 117–118
-spiced marinade, sheets of pork in, 59–60
toasting, 38
-tomatillo sauce, quick-cooked, 42–43
-tomato relish, fresh, 35–36
-tomato sauces, see tomato-chile sauces
varieties of, 329
veins, cooking with, 235
xcatique, 230, 233, 337
chile(s):
anchos, 332
de ГЎrbol, 332
de árbol, salsa picante de, 40–41
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 579
con carne, 250
cascabeles norteГ±os, 109
colorado, carne con, 250–251
en escabeche, 48–49
frescos, 335–338
gorditas de, con queso, 170–172
guajillos, 334
gГјeros, 337
jalapeГ±os, 337
mulatos, 334
pasillas, 334
poblano, rajas de, 278–279
poblanos, 332, 337
en polvo, 338
rellenos de picadillo, 245–247
secos, 331–335
serranos, 337
xcatiques, 230, 233, 337
chileajo, tostadas de, 165–166
chile(s) chipotle(s), 332–334
pollo, aguacate y, en frío, 128–129
salsa de, 39
chile colorado:
carne con, for fillings, 251
meat in red-chile sauce, 250–251
Sonoran, with powdered chile, 251
chile(s) de ГЎrbol, 332
hot sauce, 40–41
sauce, Baja California–style, 38
chiles, dried, 331–335
cleaning, 331
locating, 331
seeding and deveining, 331
storing, 331
toasting, 331–332
varieties of, 332–335
chiles, fresh, 335–338
580 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
locating, 336
peeling and seeding, 336
roasting, 336
seeding and deveining, 336
storing, 336
varieties of, 337–338
chiles rellenos:
black-bean, 247
cheese, 246–247
pan-fried, with sauce and without, 247
pork-stuffed chiles in savory tomato sauce, 245–247
chilied chicken steamed with avocado leaves, 235–237
chilmole, 66
chilorio, 53
chilpachole de jaiba, 100–102
chilpacholes:
chicken, 101
shrimp, 101–102
spicy crab soup, 100–102
chimpachole, 102
chipotle(s) chile(s), 332–334
en adobo, canned, 330
cold chicken and avocado with, 128–129
lamb shank birria with tomatillo and, 258
sauce, 39
sauce, Veracruz- or Puebla-style, 38
scallop seviche with, 84
shredded-beef salad with avocado and, 85–86
smoked chicken salad with avocado and, 129
chips, 353
crisp-fried, 78
chirmole, 66, 194
chivichangas, 142
chivo, birria de, 256–258
chocolate, 303, 339
hot, cinnamon-flavored, 314–315
ice cream, Mexican, 300
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 581
masa-thickened hot, 317
mocha Mexican, hot or iced, 315
in mole, 198
Oaxacan, 313–314
regional specialties, 303
spirited Mexican, 315
chocolate, 303, 314–315, 339
atole de (champurrado), 317
chopping, 35, 102, 103
chorizo (Mexican sausage), 53, 54, 339
aging and drying, 55
crispy masa boats with, and fresh toppings, 168–170
eggs, mushrooms and, 116
eggs, rajas and, 116
melted cheese with roasted peppers and, 82–83
potato and plantain, 134
potatoes and, with varied flavors and textures, 134
potatoes with, 134
scrambled eggs with, 113, 116
with spirits, 56
Tolucan, with nuts and raisins, 56
Tolucan chile-flavored, 55–57
chorizo, 53, 54, 339
huevos con, 113, 116
papas y, 134
queso fundido con rajas y, 82–83
toluqueño, 55–57
chowder, fresh corn, with roasted peppers, 99–100
Christmas, holiday snacks for, 282
chunky:
guacamole (avocado relish), 44–45
tomatillo sauce, 37
cilantro (fresh coriander), 343
beans with bacon, roasted chile and, 270–271
lamb empanadas with, 151
-lime dressing, 92
spicy jícama salad with tangerines and, 89–90
582 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
cinnamon, 339–340
custard ice cream with vanilla and, 299–300
-flavored hot chocolate, 314–315
-poached fruit, 297
citrus fruits, 340
cocada, postre de, 285–286
cochinita pibil, 234
Cocina bГЎsica: pescados (DueГ±as), 215
Cocina de Nuevo LeГіn (VelГЎzquez de LeГіn), 186
cocina econГіmica, 29
Cocina mexicana (Novo), 41, 44
Cocina mexicana (SГЎnchez), 205
coconut(s), 341
creamy fresh-, dessert, 285–286
hulling and peeling, 341
-rice pudding, 287
tamales, 184
cocos, 341
coffee, 303–304
cafГ© con leche, 316
pot-brewed, with KahlГєa, 316
pot-brewed, with raw sugar and spices, 315–316
coffee shops, 25, 26, 27–28, 29
coloradito:
duck enchiladas with, 159
pork-filled enchiladas with, 158–160
coloradito, enchiladas de, 158–160
Columbus, Christopher, 18
comales, 342
comida, 26
comida corrida, 26, 28, 29, 94
comida en el MГ©xico antiguo y moderno, La (Rodriguez), 276
comida familiar, 29
condensed milk, flan with, 284
condiments, 44–51
all-raw tomatillo relish, 37
cactus salad from Puebla, 47
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 583
chunky guacamole (avocado relish), 44–45
fresh tomato-chile relish, 35–36
guacamole, 44
guacamole with tomatillos, 46
homemade thick cream, 51
pickled chiles with other vegetables, 48–49
pickled red onions, 50
pickled vegetables with chiles, 49
relishy cactus-paddle salad, 47
see also sauces
Consuming Passions (Farb and Armelagos), 16
Cooking of Southwest France (Wolfert), 198
coolers, 307
almond-rice, 309–310
jamaica “flower,” 307–308
jamaica sangria, 307
lime-zest, 310–311
red-wine, with fresh lime, 322
spirited horchata, 310
spirited jamaica, 308
tamarind, 308–309
tamarind brandy sour, 308–309
copitas, 319
coriander, fresh, see cilantro
corn, 70
charcoal-grilled, with cream, cheese and chile, 272–273
dried, for tortilla or tamal dough, 71–72
dried field, 343–344
soup with shrimp, 100
soup with various flavors, 100
sweet vs. field, 99
tortillas, 74–76
washing, 71
white-rice pilaf with roasted chiles, fresh cheese and, 264–265
zucchini with roasted peppers, cream and, 273–274
see also hominy; masa
corn, fresh:
584 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chowder with roasted peppers, 99–100
fried, 272–273
tamales with picadillo, 185
tamales with rajas and cheese, 185
cornhusks, 178, 344
chile-bathed fish grilled in, 218–220
forming tamales in, 178–179, 181
Cornish game hens a las brasas, 229
corn oil, 346
Corona beer, 305
Cortés, Hernán, 16–17, 209
crab(s):
cleaning, 101
soup, spicy, 100–102
cream:
charcoal-grilled corn with cheese, chile and, 272–273
chicken tostadas with fresh vegetables and, 163
chicken with rajas and, 217
culturing, 51
enchiladas with, 157
fish with epazote, fresh cheese and, 217
fried plantains with cajeta and, 296
strawberries (or other fruit) with, 296
zucchini with chicken or cheese and, 273–274
zucchini with roasted peppers, corn and, 273–274
cream, thick:
black-bean tostadas with, 164
butter-fried plantains with, 295–296
homemade, 51
quick-fried fish with roasted peppers and, 216–217
cream cheese, “natural,” 288
creamy fresh-coconut dessert, 285–286
crema:
calabacitas con, 273–274
de elote, 99–100
enchiladas con, 157
espesa, 51
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 585
pescado con rajas y, 216–217
plátanos machos fritos con, 295–296
crepas con cajeta, 294–295
crepe pans, 294
crepes:
buttered, with caramel and pecans, 294–295
with cajeta and plantain, 295
cajeta served with, 293
making, 294
cress and jícama salad, 89–90
crisp-fried tortillas and chips, 78
crispy:
masa boats, see sopes
wheat-flour turnovers with well-seasoned meat, 150–152
crispy-fried tacos, 139–141
Cuervo tequila, 319
CuliacГЎn, Siraloa, tamal specialties in, 176
custard(s), 281
ice cream with cinnamon and vanilla, 299–300
ice cream with fruit flavors, 300
regional specialties, 284
vanilla-flavored caramel, 283–284
see also flan
dark and spicy mole with turkey, 197–200
Day of the Dead, 282
deep-fried masa turnovers with cheese, 143–145
deep-frying tortillas, 78
deer, 240
desserts, 26, 280–301
buttered crepes with caramel and pecans, 294–295
butter-fried plantains with thick cream, 295–296
cinnamon-poached fruit, 297
coconut-rice pudding, 287
creamy fresh-coconut, 285–286
crepes with cajeta and plantain, 295
fried plantains with cajeta and cream, 296
586 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
goat-milk caramel with spirits, 293
Mexican rice pudding, 286–287
Mexico’s golden caramely cajeta, 292
poached guavas in spicy syrup, 297
strawberries (or other fruit) with cream, 296
see also flan; ice creams; ices; pies
DГ­az del Castillo, Bernal, 17, 18, 313
Dos Equis beer, 305
dough:
pastry, 289–291
see also tortilla dough
dried:
beef, see jerky
chiles, see chiles, dried
-fruit tamales, 184
drinks, 302–322
chГ­a limeade, 312
fruit and milk smoothy, 312–313
guava, 297
licuados with water, 313
limonada, 311–312
sparkling limeade, 311–312
Veracruz-style toritos, 312
see also atole(s); chocolate; coffee; coolers; spirits; tequila
duck, 224, 225
charcoal-grilled, in cashew pipián with crispy bacon, 226–227
enchiladas with coloradito, 159
half-boning, 225–226
pricking and frying, 226
in smooth pumpkinseed sauce, 225–228
DueГ±as, Mariano, 215, 312
Dulcería de Celaya, Mexico City, 288–289
dzik de res, 85
eating places, 25–30
cafeterías, 25, 26, 27–28, 29
fondas, 25, 26, 28–29
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 587
restaurantes, 25–27
street-food stalls, 29–30
eggs, 111–118
chorizo and rajas, 116
cooked “to taste,” 113
distinctive Mexican tastes in, 113
getting heat right for, 112
huevos rancheros with other sauces, 114
ranch-style, with tomato-chile sauce, 113–114
regional specialties, 112
eggs, scrambled:
beating eggs for, 112
with cactus paddles, 115
chilaquiles with rajas and, 173
and green chiles, 146
with Mexican flavors, 115
with Mexican sausage, 116
and potatoes in tangy green sauce, 124–125
shredded beef jerky with chile and, 117–118
with shrimp, 115
spicy, with avocado, bacon and cheese, 115
Ellis, Lee, 306
elote:
asado, 272–273
crema de, 99–100
tamales de, 185–186
empanadas:
crispy wheat-flour turnovers with well-seasoned meat, 150–152
lamb, with fresh coriander, 151
with local flavors, 150
empanadas de picadillo, 150–152
enchilada, 65
carne, 53
carne de puerco, 59–60
enchilada-frying pans, 156
enchiladas, 152–153
cheese, 155
588 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chicken, a la plaza, 157
chicken-filled, with tangy tomatillo sauce, 154–155
duck, with coloradito, 159
pork-filled, with orange-red mole, 158–160
red-chile, with cheese and vegetables, 155–158
seafood, 155
techniques for, 153
tortillas for, 353
enchiladas, 152–153
de coloradito, 158–160
con crema, 157
de mole, 159
a la plaza, 155–158
suizas, 154
verdes, 154–155
enchilado
puerco, a la plancha, 136
encurtidos, 44–51
chiles en escabeche, 48–49
ensalada de nopalitos, 47–78
escabeche de cebolla, 50
Encyclopedia of Fish Cookery (McClane), 212
enmoladas, 159
ensaladas, 81, 85–90
dzik de res, 85
de jícama, 89–90
mixta, 87–88
de nopalitos, 47–48
pico de gallo, 89
salpicón de res poblano, 85–86
entomatadas, 154, 159
entremeses, 25, 79–84
queso fundido con rajas y chorizo, 82–83
seviche de sierra, 83–84
see also ensaladas
epazote, 344
fish with cream, fresh cheese and, 217
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 589
epazote, 344
sesos con, 147
equipment, 341–343
crepe pans, 294
enchilada-frying pans, 156
flan molds, 283
griddles, 342
grinding implements, 22, 55, 72, 342
ice cream freezers, 299
pots, 341–342
sausage stuffers, 55
shredders, 117
tortilla presses, 343
escabeche(s), 53, 66
charcoal-grilled fresh tuna or swordfish steaks in, 231
chicken thighs with vinegar, oil and aromatic spices, 230–231
fish fillets in, 221
oysters poached with mild vinegar and aromatic spices,
Tabasco-style, 220–222
pickled chiles with other vegetables, 48–49
pickled red onions, 50
shredded chicken in, 230–231
escabeche(s), 53, 66
de cebolla, 50
chiles en, 48–49
ostiones en, 220–222
pollo en (escabeche de Valladolid o oriental), 230–231
espelГіn, 189
espresso, 316
espresso, 316
esquites, 272–273
fajitas, 138
Farb, Peter, 16
Farga, Amando, 199
fat, flavor imparted by, 197–198
FernГЎndez, Bishop, 196
590 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
fiambres, 128
filete, puntas de, a la mexicana, 241–243
fillings:
carne con chile colorado, 251
melted cheese with roasted peppers and chorizo, 82–83
shredded pork tinga for, 249
tamal, rajas with tomatoes for, 278–279
see also taco fillings; turnover fillings
first courses:
oysters poached with mild vinegar and aromatic spices,
Tabasco-style, 220–222
shrimp with lime dressing and crunchy vegetables, 127–128
see also appetizers; salads; soups; tamales
fish, 208–222, 241
in banana leaves, 234
boning, 84
broth, 62–63
charcoal-grilled tuna steaks in escabeche, 231
chile-bathed, grilled in corn-husks, 218–220
determining doneness of, 212
panuchos with shark, 167
quick-fried, with toasted garlic, 215–216
round, filleting and skinning, 211–212
slashing for charcoal-grilling, 215
soup, 63
stacked tortillas with shark, black beans and tomato sauce, 161–162
tamales, Yucatecan-style, 191–192
washing with lime, 212
whole, a la veracruzana, 213
see also seafood; shellfish; shrimp
Fisher, M.F.K., 315
fish fillets:
with cream, epazote and fresh cheese, 217
in escabeche, 221
with fresh tomatoes, capers and olives, 212–214
lime-marinated mackerel with tomato and green chile, 83–84
poaching vs. baking, 212
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 591
quick-fried, with roasted peppers and thick cream, 216–217
salmon “seviche” a la veracruzana, 214
skinning, 212
with toasted garlic, 215
flan, 281, 283–284
almond, 283–284
with condensed milk, 284
my favorite, 284
overbaking, 283
pineapple, 284
unmolding, 284
very light-textured, 284
flan, 283–284
flautas:
crispy-fried tacos, 139–141
of a different sort, 140
Northern-style beef, 140
flores de calabaza, 351
guisadas, 148
Fonda el Pato restaurant, Mexico City, 225–226
Fonda el Refugio restaurant, Mexico City, 85, 242, 285
Fonda las Cazuelas restaurant, Mexico City, 25–27, 80
fondas, 25, 26, 28–29
Fonda Santa Clara restaurant, Puebla, 248
fowl, simple red mole with meat, fruit and, 206–207
franceses, 69
Franz, Carl, 319
fried:
beans, see beans, fried
crisp-, tortillas and chips, 78
crispy-, tacos, 139–141
deep-, masa turnovers with cheese, 143–145
fresh corn, 272–273
golden-, brains, 147
half-, tortillas with black beans, chicken and pickled onions,
166–168
plantains with cajeta and cream, 296
592 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
see also pan-fried; quick-fried
frijoles:
borrachos, 271
charros, 270–271
fronterizos, 271
de la olla, 267–268
refritos, 269–270
fruit:
cinnamon-poached, 297
with cream, 296
dried-, tamales, 184
flavors, custard ice cream with, 300
and milk smoothy, 312–313
simple red mole with meat, fowl and, 206–207
tropical, ices and exotic ice creams, 298–299
see also specific fruits
Fruit-Fresh, 45
fruits of the sea a la vinagreta, 127
fruta, licuado de leche y, 312–313
frying:
chile-coated meat, 136
chile-dipped tortillas, 155
crisp-, tortillas, 353
deep-, tortillas, 78
pan-, meat, 243
slow-, 252
frying pans, for enchiladas, 156
game, 225
adobo as stew, 255
Cornish hens a las brasas, 229
hens, charcoal-grilled, in adobo, 255
garbanzo-vegetable soup with smoky broth and fresh avocado, 97–98
García, María Lara de, 239–240
garlic:
browning, 215
stewed mushrooms with onions and, 149
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 593
sweet, browned, tortillas topped with, 73
garlic, roasted or toasted:
azadura with tomatillo, mustard and, 130
dressing, 91
fish fillets with, 215
quick-fried fish with, 215–216
quick-fried zucchini with lime and, 274–275
shrimp with avocado and, 215–216
toasting, 38, 39
garnachas, 170
Gastronomic Tour of Mexico (Read), 66
Gastrotur, 83
girasol, 346
glasses, for tequila, 319
goat, 240–241
barbacoa, 237
slow-steamed, with mild chile seasoning, 256–258
goat cheese, fresh, tortilla soup with, 97
goat-milk caramel with spirits, 293
golden-fried brains, 147
gorditas, 130, 170
bake-then-fry technique for, 170–171
puffed masa cakes stuffed with chiles and cheese, 170–172
variations in sizes and fillings of, 172
gorditas, 130, 170
de chile con queso, 170–172
green chile(s), 263
and beef filling, 131
fresh cheese with, 146
grilled chicken with, 139
lime-marinated mackerel with tomato and, 83–84
long, 337–338
potatoes and, 146
scrambled eggs and, 146
green mole, 194
pumpkinseed, with chicken breasts, 203–205
quick-fried calf’s liver with, 204
594 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
smoothing in blender, 203–204
green onions, charcoal-grilled, with lime, 277–278
green pozole, 104–106
green rice, extra herby, 266
green (tomatillo) sauce, 34
chunky, 37
creamy, potatoes, zucchini and rajas in, 125
fresh, 36–37
herby, 43
pan-fried chicken livers with, 130–131
quick-cooked, 42–43
simple chicken breasts in, 204
tamales with chicken and, 181–183
tangy, chicken-filled enchiladas with, 154–155
tangy, scrambled eggs and potatoes in, 124–125
griddle:
-baked cheese quesadillas, easy, 144–145
-baking tortillas, 74–75, 76, 77
-fried onions, 277
griddles, 342
Grijalva river, 210
grilled:
chicken with another flavor, 228–229
chile-bathed fish in cornhusks, 218–220
see also charcoal-grilled
grilling over foil, 277
grinding, 22
achiote, 66
tamal dough, 71–72
tortilla dough, 71
grinding implements, 22, 55, 72, 342
guacamole, 44, 194
chunky (avocado relish), 44–45
discoloration of, 45
flavoring, 44
savory golden country ribs with, 252–253
smooth consistency of, 46
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 595
with tomatillos, 46
guacamole, 44, 194
carnitas con, 252–253
picado, 44–45
de tomate verde, 46
Guadalajara:
chile-based sauces in, 35
custards in, 284
tortillas in, 73, 78
white pozole in, 107, 108
guajillo chiles, 334
guajolote, mole poblano de, 197–200
guava(s), 344
drink, 297
poached, in spicy syrup, 297
guayaba(s), 344
en almГ­bar, 297
licuado, 297
Guaymas, Sonora, escabeche in, 222
gГјero chiles, 337
Guerrero, Guerrero-style dishes:
chilied chicken steamed with avocado leaves, 235–237
game specialties in, 225, 240
green mole in, 205
pozole in, 95, 104, 108
pozole parlor in, 239–240
taco specialties in, 140
Guide to Tequila, Mezcal and Pulque, A (Barrios), 319
guisadas:
flores de calabaza, 148
hongos, 149
Gulf states, 23
bean varieties in, 268
custards in, 284
frozen desserts in, 281
seafood in, 210–211
sopes in, 170
596 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
soup specialties in, 94
tortillas in, 73
see also PГЎnuco, Veracruz; Tabasco; Tampico, Tamaulipas; Veracruz
GuzmГЎn de VГЎsquez Colmenares, Ana MarГ­a, 165, 298, 310
half-boning:
chicken breast, 225
duck, 225–226
half-cooked hominy for pozole, 72
half-fried tortillas with black beans, chicken and pickled onions,
166–168
hangovers, menudo recommended for, 109
harina, tortillas de, 76–77
helados, 298
herb-green rice with peas, 266–267
herby:
extra-, green rice, 266
tomatillo sauce, 43
Hermosillo, Sonora, 170
Herradura tequila, 319
hog casings, 55
hoja(s):
de aguacate, 324
de aguacate, barbacoa de pollo en, estilo guerrerense, 235–237
de maГ­z, 344
de maíz, pescado adobado en, 218–220
de plГЎtano, 325
santa, 105, 344–345
holiday snacks, 282
hominy:
canned, 104, 106
“flowered,” 72
half-cooked, for pozole, 72
menudo with, 110
pork and chicken soup with ground pumpkinseeds, 104–106
and pork soup with red chile and fresh garnishes, 107–108
pressure-cooking, 104
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 597
honey, walnut pie with, 291
hongos guisados, 149
horchata, 309–310
spirited, 310
horchata, 309–310
hors d’oeuvres, see appetizers
hot chocolate:
cinnamon-flavored, 314–315
masa-thickened, 317
mocha Mexican, 315
hot sauce:
bottled, 40
chile de árbol, 40–41
huevo(s), 111–118
con chorizo, 113, 116
al gusto, 113
machacado con, 117–118
a la mexicana, 113, 115
con nopales, 115
y papas con rajas en salsa verde, 124–125
rancheros, 113–114
iceberg lettuce, 346
ice cream freezers, 299
ice creams:
custard, with cinnamon and vanilla, 299–300
custard, with fruit flavors, 300
fruit for, 299
Mexican chocolate, 300
techniques for, 298–299
tropical fruit, 298–299
iced chocolate, mocha Mexican, 315
ices:
fresh prickly-pear, 300–301
fruit for, 299
mango, peach, nectarine or cantaloupe, 301
nieve de limГіn, 301
598 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
strawberry, blackberry, boysenberry or kiwi, 301
techniques for, 298–299
tropical fruit, 298–299
iguana, 240
ingredients, 19–20
distinctive flavor combinations, 20–21
finding, 355
glossary of, 323–354
innards, 241; see also brains; liver; tripe
jaiba, chilpachole de, 100–102
jalapeГ±o chiles, 337
jamaica, 304, 345
“flower” cooler, 307–308
spirited, 308
jamaica, 304, 345
agua de, 307–308
sangria, 307
jerky, 53, 345
chile-dried beef, 58
regional specialties, 58
roasting, 117
shredded beef, with scrambled eggs and chile, 117–118
shredding, 117
spicy shredded, burritos with, 141–142
thin-sliced strips of beef dried to, 57–59
jícama, 89, 345–346
and beef salpicГіn, 86
and cress salad, 89–90
salad with tangerines and fresh coriander, spicy, 89–90
shrimp and roasted chiles a la vinagreta, 127
jícama, 89, 345–346
ensalada de, 89–90
pico de gallo, 89
jitomate, 352–353
salsa cocida de, 41–42
JuchitГЎn, Oaxaca, Juchitecan-style dishes:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 599
rice with pork and green chile, 263
tortillas in, 69
juice, mock bitter orange, 340
KahlГєa, pot-brewed coffee with, 316
kid, 240–241
see also goat
kiwi ice, 301
lamb, 240–241
barbacoa, 237
empanadas with fresh coriander, 151
shank birria with chipotle and tomatillo, 258
slow-steamed, with mild chile seasoning, 256–258
tips with Mexican flavors, 243
La Paz, Baja California, seafood in, 209–210
lard, 346
Lawrence, D. H., 22
layered tortilla casserole, 174
leaf lettuce, 346
leaves, leaf-wrapped cooking:
avocado, 324
chilied chicken steamed with avocado leaves, 235–237
goat or lamb barbacoa, 237
shredded chicken barbacoa for taco fillings, 237
Yucatecan pit barbecue, 232
see also banana leaves; corn-husks; tamal(es)
leche:
arroz con, 286–287
cafГ© con, 316
cajeta de, envinada, 293
licuado de fruta y, 312–313
lechuga, 346
lettuce, 346
licuado de leche y fruta, 312–313
lime(s), 340
charcoal-grilled baby onions with, 277–278
-cilantro dressing, 92
600 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
dressing, 87–88
fresh, red-wine cooler with, 322
-marinated mackerel with tomato and green chile, 83–84
quick-fried zucchini with toasted garlic and, 274–275
slaked, 346
tequila cocktail, 320–321
washing fish with, 212
zest, grating, 310
-zest cooler, 310–311
-zest ice, 301
limeade:
chГ­a, 312
sparkling, 311–312
Veracruz-style toritos, 312
limГіn:
nieve de, 301
rallado, agua preparada de, 310–311
limonada, 311–312
liver:
azadura with tomatillo, roasted garlic and mustard, 130
pan-fried chicken, with tomatillo sauce, 130–131
quick-fried calf’s, with green mole, 204
lomo de puerco en adobo, 254–256
loncherГ­as, 30
longaniza, 54
Loredo, JosГ© Luis, 243
Los Almendros restaurant, MГ©rida, 167
lunch counters, 30
McClane, A. J., 212
machaca, burritos de, 141–142
machacado con huevo, 117–118
machitos, 241
mackerel, lime-marinated, with tomato and green chile, 83–84
maguey, 305, 306
main dishes, 26, 193–258
adobo as stew, 255
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 601
black-bean chiles rellenos, 247
broiled beef with classic accompaniments, Tampico-style, 243–245
carne asada with other accompaniments, 244
charcoal-broiled carne asada, 244
charcoal-grilled chicken, Sinaloa-style, 228–229
charcoal-grilled chicken tinga, 249
charcoal-grilled duck in cashew pipián with crispy bacon, 226–227
charcoal-grilled fresh tuna or swordfish steaks in escabeche, 231
charcoal-grilled game hens in adobo, 255
charcoal-grilled pork loin with rich red-chile sauce, 254–256
charcoal-grilled veal chops a la veracruzana, 214
cheese chiles rellenos, 246–247
chicken thighs with vinegar, oil and aromatic spices, 230–231
chicken with rajas and cream, 217
chile-bathed fish grilled in cornhusks, 218–220
chile con carne with a nod toward Texas, 251
chilied chicken steamed with avocado leaves, 235–237
Cornish game hens a las brasas, 229
dark and spicy mole with turkey, 197–200
duck in smooth pumpkinseed sauce, 225–228
elaborate manchamanteles for a crowd, 207
fish fillets in escabeche, 221
fish fillets with fresh tomatoes, capers and olives, 212–214
fish fillets with toasted garlic, 215
fish in banana leaves, 234
fish with cream, epazote and fresh cheese, 217
goat or lamb barbacoa, 237
green pumpkinseed mole with chicken breasts, 203–205
marinated steaks for carne asada, 244–245
meat in red-chile sauce, 250–251
oysters poached with mild vinegar and aromatic spices,
Tabasco-style, 220–222
pan-fried chiles rellenos with sauce and without, 247
pork pibil, 234
pork-stuffed chiles in savory tomato sauce, 245–247
pork with smoky tomato sauce, potatoes and avocado, 248–249
quick-fried beef tips with Mexican flavors, 241–243
602 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
quick-fried calf’s liver with green mole, 204
quick-fried fish with roasted peppers and thick cream, 216–217
quick-fried fish with toasted garlic, 215–216
red mole with one chile, 201
red-seasoned chicken steamed in banana leaves, 233–235
rich red mole with chicken, 201–203
salmon “seviche” a la veracruzana, 214
savory golden country ribs with avocado relish, 252–253
shredded chicken in escabeche, 230–231
shrimp adobados, 219
shrimp with toasted garlic and avocado, 215–216
simple chicken breasts in tomatillo sauce, 204
simple red mole with meat, fowl and fruit, 206–207
slow-steamed goat or lamb with mild chile seasoning, 256–258
Sonoran chile colorado with powdered chile, 251
tongue a la veracruzana, 213
whole fish a la veracruzana, 213
maíz, 70, 73–74, 343–344
aceite de, 346
hojas de, see hojas de maГ­z
nixtamalado, 105
nuevo, 73
tortillas de, 74–76
manchamanteles, 194, 207
elaborate, for a crowd, 207
simple red mole with meat, fowl and fruit, 206–207
manchamanteles, 194, 207
de cerdo y pollo, 206–207
mango(s)
with cream, 296
custard ice cream, 300
ice, 301
manos, 342
manteca, 346
margarita, 303, 320–321
margarita, 303, 320–321
marinades:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 603
chile, see adobo(s)
lime, for fish, 212
see also Yucatecan seasoning paste
mariscos:
chilpachole de jaiba, 100–102
ostiones en escabeche, 220–222
sopa de, 63
see also camarones
marketplaces, Mexican, 17, 19–20, 28
fondas in, 25, 26, 28–29
seafood in, 209, 210
masa, 347
boats, crispy, see sopes
coarse-ground vs. smooth for tamales, 178
substitute, for tamales, 181
-thickened hot chocolate, 317
for tortillas vs. tamales, 71–72
masa, 69, 70, 73–74, 347
fingida para tamales, 181
para tortillas o tamales, 71–72
masa harina, 347
for tortillas, 74, 75
Mayans, 23. See also YucatГЎn
meat, 238–258
accordion-cutting, 57, 58
adobo as stew, 255
chile-coated, frying, 136
coarse-ground, 132
goat or lamb barbacoa, 237
mixing and matching sauces and, 195
organ, 241; see also brains; liver; tripe
pan-frying, 243
preserving, 53
in red-chile sauce, 250–251
searing, 135
simple red mole with fowl, fruit and, 206–207
slow-steamed goat or lamb with mild chile seasoning, 256–258
604 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
well-seasoned, crispy wheat-flour turnovers with, 150–152
see also bacon; beef; chorizo; jerky; lamb; pork; pork, shredded
meat grinders, 55
melted cheese with roasted peppers and chorizo, 82–83
memelas, 170
menudo, 95
with hominy, 110
red-chile tripe soup with fresh garnishes, 109–110
menudo, 95
rojo, 109–110
MГ©rida, YucatГЎn:
candies in, 282
taco specialties in, 123, 128, 140
Merrill, MarГ­a, 266
mescal, 303, 306
metates, 22, 342
mexicana, 241
arroz a la, 263–264
huevos a la, 113, 115
puntas de filete a la, 241–243
Mexican-American cooking, 14–15
tacos in, 121
Mexican Cook Book Devoted to American Homes (VelГЎzquez de LeГіn),
283
Mexican cooking:
history of, 15–19, 196–197
ingredients in, 19–20, 355
Mexican-American cooking vs. 14–15
regional tastes in, 22–23
techniques in, 21–22
Mexico:
eating places in, 25–30
markets in, 17, 19–20, 28, 209, 210
Mexico: Places and Pleasures (Simon), 197
Mexico City:
appetizers in, 80
taco fillings in, 123
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 605
MГ©xico en la cocina de Marichu (Carbia), 285
mezcal, 303, 306
mezcaleros, 319
MichoacГЎn:
appetizers in, 80
candies in, 282
chiles in, 335
seafood in, 211
tamal specialties in, 177
midday dinner, 26
migadas, 170
milk:
condensed, flan with, 284
and fruit smoothy, 312–313
goat-, caramel with spirits, 293
minced pork with almonds, raisins and sweet spices, 132–133
mixed vegetable salad with lime dressing, 87–88
mocha, Mexican chocolate, hot or iced, 315
mock bitter orange juice, 340
moist-roasting in sealed pot, 256
mojo de ajo:
calabacitas al, 274–275
chayotes al, 275
pescado al, 215–216
molcajetes, 22, 194, 342
molding:
rice, 261–262
molds, for flan, 283
mole(s), 53, 193–207
balancing flavor of, 198
chicken enchiladas with, 159
dark and spicy, with turkey, 197–200
fat in, 197–198
green, 194
green, quick-fried calf’s liver with, 204
green pumpkinseed, with chicken breasts, 203–205
menu suggestions for, 199
606 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
mixing and matching sauces and meats, 195
orange-red, pork-filled enchiladas with, 158–160
red, with one chile, 202
regional specialties, 194
rich red, with chicken, 201–203
simple red, with meat, fowl and fruit, 206–207
smoothing in blender, 203–204
use of word 201–202
mole(s), 53, 193–207
enchiladas de, 159
manchamanteles de cerdo y pollo, 206–207
poblano, 194, 196–197, 224
poblano de guajolote, 197–200
rojo con pollo, 201–203
verde con pechugas de pollo, 203–205
Monterey jack:
chilaquiles with quick-fried chard and, 174
spicy scrambled eggs with avocado, bacon and, 115
Monterrey, Nuevo LeГіn:
bean specialties in, 270
tamal specialties in, 176
Montezuma II, 16, 315
Morelia, MichoacГЎn, candies in, 282
moreno, 109
mortars, 22, 342
mulato chiles, 334
mushroom(s):
eggs, chorizo and, 116
filling, simple, 149
stewed, with onions and garlic, 149
mustard, azadura with tomatillo, roasted garlic and, 130
nac cum, 234
naranja agria, 340
Nayarit, bottled hot sauce in, 40
nectarine(s):
with cream, 296
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 607
custard ice cream, 300
ice, 301
Negra Modelo beer, 305
neveros, 298
New Mexico/California chiles, 334–335
nieve, 298
de limГіn, 301
de sorbete, 298, 299–300
de tuna, 300–301
nixtamal, 105
para pozole, 72
nopales, 325–326
huevos con, 115
nopalitos, 325–326
ensalada de, 47–48
Northern Mexico, Northern-style dishes, 23
appetizers in, 80
bean varieties in, 268
beef flautas, 140
chile-based sauces in, 34–35
chiles in, 336
egg dishes in, 112
meat specialties in, 240
picadillo, 133
pipiГЎn in, 227
red-chile sauce without meat, 250
shredded beef with tomatoes, 131–132
soup specialties in, 94
see also CuliacГЎn, Sinaloa; Guaymas, Sonora; Hermosillo, Sonora;
La Paz, Baja California; Monterrey, Nuevo LeГіn; Northwestern
Mexico; Sinaloa
Northwestern Mexico:
bean varieties in, 268
tamal specialties in, 177
Novo, Salvador, 41, 44
nueces, 347–348
de Castilla, 347
608 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
pay de, 289–291
Nuevo León–style tamales, 186–188
nut(s), 347–348
atole, 317
buttered crepes with caramel and pecans, 294–295
cashew pipián, charcoal-grilled duck with crispy bacon in, 226–227
pecan pie with raw sugar and spices, 289–291
pine, sweet fresh-cheese pie with raisins and, 288
tamales, 184
-thickened sauces, pureeing, 195
-thickened sauces, serving, 195
Tolucan chorizo with raisins and, 56
see also almond(s)
Oaxaca, Oaxacan-style dishes:
achiote seeds in, 53
appetizers in, 80
bean specialties in, 270
candies in, 282
cheeses in, 327
chile-based sauces in, 35
chiles in, 331
chipotle sauce in, 39
chocolate, 303, 313–315
Christmas festivities in, 282
egg dishes in, 112
frozen desserts in, 281
ices and ice creams in, 298
market-style grilled pork, 139
moles in, 194
“natural” soft drinks in, 304, 309, 310–311
picadillo with fried plantain, 133
sausages in, 54
sopes in, 170
soup specialties in, 94
tamales, 176, 191–192
tortillas in, 69, 73
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 609
oils, 346
oliva, aceite de, 346
olive oil, 346
olives, fish fillets with fresh tomatoes, capers and, 212–214
olla(s), 267, 341
frijoles de la, 267–268
onions, 348
baby, charcoal-grilled, with lime, 277–278
blanching, 50
griddle-fried, 277
pickled, half-fried tortillas with black beans, chicken and, 166–168
red, pickled, 50
roasted peppers with herbs and, 278–279
stewed mushrooms with garlic and, 149
well-browned, slivered beef with, 135
orange-red mole:
duck enchiladas with, 159
pork-filled enchiladas with, 158–160
oranges, bitter (Seville or sour oranges), 340
mock juice, 340
oregano, 348
orГ©gano, 348
organ meats, 241
see also brains; liver; tripe
ostiones en escabeche, 220–222
oysters:
cooking, 220
poached with mild vinegar and aromatic spices, Tabasco-style,
220–222
pan:
de camarones, 162
de cazón, 161–162
pan-fried:
chicken livers with tomatillo sauce, 130–131
chile-marinated pork, 136
chiles rellenos with sauce and without, 247
610 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
pan-frying meat, 243
pans:
crepe, 294
for enchilada-frying, 156
for rice, 261
panuchos yucatecos con pollo, 166–168
PГЎnuco, Veracruz, tamal specialties in, 177
papas:
y chorizo, 134
huevos con rajas y, en salsa verde, 124–125
con rajas, 146
papaya with cream, 296
parsley, flat-leaf, 349
pasilla chiles, 334
pastry, 289–291
pato en pipián rojo, 225–228
pay:
de nuez, 289–291
de queso, 288–289
peach(es):
with cream, 296
custard ice cream, 300
ice, 301
peanuts, 347
pears, cinnamon-poached, 297
peas, herb-green rice with, 266–267
pecan(s), 347
buttered crepes with caramel and, 294–295
pie with raw sugar and spices, 289–291
pejelagarto, 210
pellizcada, 169–170
People’s Guide to Mexico, The (Franz), 319
pepiГЎn, 227
pepitas, 347–348
pepper(s), roasted:
fresh corn chowder with, 99–100
melted cheese with chorizo and, 82–83
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 611
with onions and herbs, 278–279
queso fundido with fresh herbs and, 82
quick-fried fish with thick cream and, 216–217
shrimp-ball soup with tomato and, 102–104
zucchini with corn, cream and, 273–274
see also rajas
Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums (Andrews), 330
perejil, 349
pescado, 208–220
adobado en hojas de maíz, 218–220
caldo de, 62–63
al mojo de ajo, 215–216
con rajas y crema, 216–217
sopa de, 63
a la veracruzana, 212–214
see also mariscos
pestles, 342
Physiology of Taste, The (Brillat-Savarin), 314
pibes, 189–190, 232
pibil:
chicken, 233–235
pork, 234
pibil:
cochinita, 234
pollo, 233–235
pibipollo, 189–191
picadas, 169–170
picadillo:
chiles rellenos, 245–247
empanadas, 150–152
fresh-corn tamales with, 185
Northern-style, 133
Oaxacan, 132–133
Oaxacan, with fried plantain, 133
panuchos with, 167
red-chile, 133
shredded pork, 133
612 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
picadillo:
chiles rellenos de, 245–247
empanadas de, 150–152
oaxaqueño, 132–133
picante chiles, simmering, in soups, 97
Pichanchas restaurant, Tuxtla GutiГ©rrez, 185
pickled:
chiles with other vegetables, 48–49
fresh chiles, 330
red onions, 50
vegetables with chiles, 49
pie crusts:
pastry for, 289–291
prebaking, 290, 291
pies:
pecan, with raw sugar and spices, 289–291
sweet fresh-cheese, 288–289
sweet fresh-cheese, with pine nuts and raisins, 288
walnut, with honey, 291
pilaf, white-rice, with corn, roasted chiles and fresh cheese, 264–265
piloncillo, 349
pineapple:
atole, 317
flan, 284
tamales, 184
pine nuts, sweet fresh-cheese pie with raisins and, 288
piper sanctum, 105, 344–345
pipián, 17, 227–228
cashew, charcoal-grilled duck with crispy bacon in, 226–227
duck in smooth pumpkinseed sauce, 225–228
regional specialties, 227
pipián, 17, 227–228
rojo, pato en, 225–228
verde, 205
pit barbecues, 240–241
Yucatecan, 232
plancha:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 613
puerco enchilado a la, 136
tacos de la, 122–123
plantain(s), 349
chorizo, potato and, 134
crepes with cajeta and, 295
sopes with shredded pork, 169
plantain(s), fried, 281
butter-, with thick cream, 295–296
with cajeta and cream, 296
Oaxacan picadillo with, 133
white rice with, 265
plГЎtano, hojas de, 325
plГЎtanos machos, 349
fritos con crema, 295–296
plate-style mills, 72
Platillos regionales de la RepГєblica Mexicana (VelГЎzquez de LeГіn), 55
poached:
chicken, shredded, 60–61
chicken, timing, 60
cinnamon-, fruit, 297
guavas in spicy syrup, 297
oysters with mild vinegar and aromatic spices, Tabasco-style,
220–222
poblano chiles, 337
roasted, with onions and herbs, 278–279
polla, 313
pollo:
aguacate y chile chipotle en frío, 128–129
barbacoa de, estilo guerrerense, 235–237
a las brasas, 225
a las brasas, estilo sinaloense, 228–229
deshebrado, 60–61
en escabeche, 230–231
manchamanteles de cerdo y, 206–207
mole rojo con, 201–203
mole verde con pechugas de, 203–205
panuchos yucatecos con, 166–168
614 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
pibil, 233–235
a la plaza, 224
tamales de, y salsa verde, 181–183
tostadas de, 163–164
ponche, 304
pork, 240
charcoal-grilling, 254
chicken and hominy soup with ground pumpkinseeds, 104–106
crispy wheat-flour turnovers with well-seasoned meat, 150–152
-filled enchiladas with orange-red mole, 158–160
and hominy soup with red chile and fresh garnishes, 107–108
Juchitecan rice with green chile and, 263
loin, charcoal-grilled, with rich red-chile sauce, 254–256
loin, trimming, 59–60
minced, with almonds, raisins and sweet spices, 132–133
Northern-style picadillo, 133
Nuevo León–style tamales, 186–188
Oaxacan market-style grilled, 139
Oaxacan picadillo with fried plantain, 133
pan-fried chile-marinated, 136
pan-fried chiles rellenos, with sauce and without, 247
pibil, 234
picadillo, panuchos with, 167
preserved with chile, 53
a la ranchera, 242
red-chile picadillo, 133
savory golden country ribs with avocado relish, 252–253
sheets of, in chile-spice marinade, 59–60
with smoky tomato sauce, potatoes and avocado, 248–249
-stuffed chiles in savory tomato sauce, 245–247
with Swiss chard, 276
thin-sliced, 58
zucchini and, with Mexican flavors, 125–126
see also bacon; chorizo
pork, shredded:
filling, Veracruz-style, 132
picadillo, 133
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 615
plantain sopes with, 169
tinga for filling, 249
postres, 280–301
arroz con leche, 286–287
cajeta, 292
cajeta de leche envinada, 293
de cocada, 285–286
crepas con cajeta, 294–295
flan, 283–284
guayabas en almГ­bar, 297
nieve de limГіn, 301
nieve de sorbete, 299–300
nieve de tuna, 300–301
pay de nuez, 289–291
pay de queso, 288–289
plátanos machos fritos con crema, 295–296
potato(es):
chorizo and plantain, 134
and chorizo with varied flavors and textures, 134
and green chiles, 146
with Mexican sausage, 134
pork with smoky tomato sauce, avocado and, 248–249
and rajas, 124
scrambled eggs and, in tangy green sauce, 124–125
Swiss chard with tomatoes and, 275–276
zucchini and rajas in creamy green sauce, 125
pot-brewed coffee:
with KahlГєa, 316
with raw sugar and spices, 315–316
pots, 341–342
poultry, 223–237, 241
poultry:
charcoal-grilled game hens in adobo, 255
Cornish game hens a las brasas, 229
dark and spicy mole with turkey, 197–200
see also chicken; duck
powdered:
616 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chile, 53, 64, 338
pumpkinseeds, 105
pozol, 303
pozole, 95, 239
adding salt to, 104
green, 104–106
half-cooked hominy for, 72
pork, chicken and hominy soup with ground pumpkin-seeds,
104–106
pork and hominy soup with red chile and fresh garnishes, 107–108
verde to begin a meal, 106
white, 107, 108
pozole, 95, 239
nixtamal para, 72
rojo, 107–108
verde, 104–106
prickly-pear cactus fruit, 349–350
fresh, ice, 300–301
puddings:
creamy fresh-coconut dessert, 285–286
see also flan; rice pudding
Puebla, Puebla-style dishes:
appetizers in, 80
cactus salad, 47
candies in, 282
chile varieties in, 331, 335
chilpacholes in, 102
chipotle sauce in, 38, 39
moles in, 53
pipiГЎn in, 227
pork specialties in, 240, 248–249
sopes in, 170
white-rice pilaf with corn, roasted chiles and fresh cheese, 264–265
puerco, 240
calabacitas con, 125–126
carne de, enchilada, 59–60
carnitas con guacamole, 252–253
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 617
chiles rellenos de picadillo, 245–247
cochinita pibil, 234
empanadas de picadillo, 150–152
enchiladas de coloradito, 158–160
enchilado a la plancha, 136
lomo de, en adobo, 254–256
picadillo oaxaqueño, 132–133
pozole rojo, 107–108
pozole verde, 104–106
tamales estilo Nuevo Léon, 186–188
tinga poblana, 248–249
see also chorizo
puffed masa cakes stuffed with chiles and cheese, 170–172
pulque, 303, 304, 305
pumpkinseed(s), 348
ground, pork, chicken and hominy soup with, 104–106
mole, green, with chicken breasts, 203–205
powdered, 105
sauce, smooth, duck in, 225–228
shelled vs. unshelled, in mole, 205
toasting, 106, 205
puntas de filete a la mexicana, 241–243
pureeing, 42–43
mole, 203–204
nut- or seed-thickened sauces, 195
QuerГ©taro, taco fillings in, 122
quesadillas, 143
deep-fried masa turnovers with cheese, 143–145
easy griddle-baked cheese, 144–145
fillings for, see turnover fillings
forming, 144–145
frying, 143, 145
griddle-baked, 144
from ready-made tortillas, 353
quesadillas, 143
fritas, 143–145
618 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
quesadillas, rellenos para, 145–146
flores de calabaza guisadas, 148
hongos guisados, 149
papas con rajas, 146
sesos con epazote, 147
quesillo, 327, 328
queso, 326–328
aГ±ejo, 327, 328
asadero, 327, 328
de bola con corazГіn de mantequilla, 327
Chihuahua, 327
crema, 288, 327
fresco, 327–328
fundido con rajas y chorizo, 82–83
gorditas de chile con, 170–172
menonita, 327
panela, 327
pay de, 288–289
queso fundido with roasted peppers and fresh herbs, 82
quick-cooked:
tomatillo-chile sauce, 42–43
tomato-chile sauce, 41–42
quick-fried:
beef tips with Mexican flavors, 241–243
calf’s liver with green mole, 204
fish with roasted peppers and thick cream, 216–217
fish with toasted garlic, 215–216
zucchini with toasted garlic and lime, 274–275
quick-simmered tortilla casserole with green or red sauce, 172–174
quinces, cinnamon-poached, 297
500 mejores recetas de la cocina mexicana, Las (ZelayarГЎn), 286
rГЎbanos, 351
rabbit adobo as stew, 255
radish(es), 351
roses, 350
raisins:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 619
minced pork with almonds, sweet spices and, 132–133
sweet fresh-cheese pie with pine nuts and, 288
Tolucan chorizo with nuts and, 56
rajas:
chicken with cream and, 217
chilaquiles with scrambled eggs and, 173
eggs, chorizo and, 116
fresh-corn tamales with cheese and, 185
my favorite, 279
potatoes and, 124
potatoes and zucchini in creamy green sauce, 125
see also pepper(s), roasted
rajas:
de chile poblano, 278–279
huevos y papas con, en salsa verde, 124–125
papas con, 146
pescado con crema y, 216–217
queso fundido con chorizo y, 82–83
ranch-style eggs with tomato-chile sauce, 113–114
raw sugar, 349
pecan pie with spices and, 289–291
pot-brewed coffee with spices and, 315–316
Read, R. B., 66
recado(s), 67
negro, 66
recados yucatecos, 53, 65–67
de bistec, 65–66, 67
rojo, 65, 66–67
Recetario mexicano del maГ­z, 189
red chile:
enchiladas with cheese and vegetables, 155–158
marinade, 64–65
picadillo, 133
pork and hominy soup with fresh garnishes and, 107–108
tripe soup with fresh garnishes, 109–110
red-chile sauce:
correcting consistency of, 254
620 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
meat in, 250–251
Northern-style, without meat, 250
rich, charcoal-grilled pork loin with, 254–256
with roasted tomato, 37–38
red mole:
with one chile, 202
orange-, pork-filled enchiladas with, 158–160
rich, with chicken, 201–203
simple, with meat, fowl and fruit, 206–207
red onions, pickled, 50
red rice, Mexican, with a variety of flavors, 263
red-seasoned chicken steamed in banana leaves, 233–235
red-tinted tamales, 184
red-wine cooler with fresh lime, 322
refritos, 270
relishes:
all-raw tomatillo, 37
avocado (chunky guacamole), 44–45
fresh tomato-chile, 35–36
relishy cactus-paddle salad, 47–48
rellenos, see quesadillas, rellenos para; tacos, rellenos para
res:
dzik de, 85
salpicón de, poblano, 85–86
restaurantes, 25–27
restaurantes econГіmicas, 29
restaurants, traditional, 25–27; see also eating places
ribs:
judging doneness of, 252
savory golden country, with avocado relish, 252–253
Ricardo, Don, 266–267
rice, 26, 260, 261, 351
-almond cooler, 309–310
extra-herby green, 266
herb-green, with peas, 266–267
Juchitecan, with pork and green chile, 263
Mexican red, with a variety of flavors, 263
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 621
Mexican tomato-colored (with fresh vegetables), 263–264
techniques for, 261–262
white-, pilaf, with corn, roasted chiles and fresh cheese, 264–265
white, with fried plantain, 265
rice pudding, 281
coconut-, 287
Mexican, 286–287
rich red mole with chicken, 201–203
roasted:
garlic, see garlic, roasted or toasted
pepper, see pepper(s), roasted; rajas
rГіbalo, 212
Rodriguez, 276
romaine lettuce, 346
rustic tomato-chile sauce, 41
safflower oil, 346
Sahagún, Bernardino de, 16–17, 175, 228, 317
salad dressings:
avocado, 90–91
lime, 87–88
lime-cilantro, 92
roasted garlic, 91
salads, 81, 85–90
beef and jГ­cama salpicГіn, 86
cactus, from Puebla, 47
cress and jícama, 89–90
mixed vegetable, with lime dressing, 87–88
relishy cactus-paddle, 47–48
“rooster’s beak,” 89
shredded-beef, with avocado and chile chipotle, 85–86
smoked chicken, with avocado and chipotle, 129
spicy jícama, with tangerines and fresh coriander, 89–90
Yucatecan shredded beef, 85
SalchichonerГ­a casera (VelГЎzquez de LeГіn), 56
salmon “seviche” a la veracruzana, 214
salpicГіn, 86
622 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
beef and jГ­cama, 86
salpicón de res poblano, 85–86
salsas, 33–43
de chiles chipotles, 39
cocida de jitomate, 41–42
mexicana, 34, 35–36
picante de chile de árbol, 40–41
roja, 37–38
xnipec, 36
salsa verde, 34, 42–43
azadura con, 130–131
cruda, 36–37
huevos y papas con rajas en, 124–125
tamales de pollo y, 181–183
salted beef, 53
San ГЃngel Inn, Mexico City, 293
SГЎnchez, Mayo Antonio, 205
SГЎnchez GarcГ­a, Alfonso, 54
San CristГіbal de las Casas, Chiapas:
candies in, 282
tamal specialties in, 177
vegetables in, 261
sangria:
jamaica, 307
mexicana, 322
with other juices, 322
white-wine, with tequila, 322
sangria:
mexicana, 322
sangrita, tequila con, 319–320
San Luis PotosГ­, vegetables in, 261
sauces, 33–43
chile de árbol, Baja California–style, 38
chile de árbol hot, 40–41
chipotle chile, 39
chipotle chile, Veracruz- or Puebla-style, 38
“frying of,” 22, 42
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 623
green, see green (tomatillo) sauce
mixing and matching meats and, 195
mole, see mole(s)
nut- or seed-thickened, techniques for, 195
red-chile, see red-chile sauce
regional specialties, 34–35
smooth pumpkinseed, duck in, 225–228
tomatillo, see green (tomatillo) sauce
tomato, see tomato sauces
tomato-chile see tomato-chile sauces
Yucatecan tomato, 42
see also condiments
sausage, see chorizo
sausage stuffers, 55
Sauza tequilas, 319
savory:
golden country ribs with avocado relish, 252–253
tomato sauce, pork-stuffed chiles in, 245–247
scallop seviche with chipotle, 84
scrambled eggs, see eggs, scrambled
seafood, 208–222, 241
enchiladas, 155
see also fish; shellfish; shrimp
searing technique, 22, 135
seasoning pastes, Yucatecan, see Yucatecan seasoning pastes
seed(s), 347–348
-thickened sauces, pureeing, 195
-thickened sauces, serving, 195
see also pumpkinseed(s)
serrano chiles, 337
sesos con epazote, 147
seviche:
lime-marinated mackerel with tomato and green chile, 83–84
salmon, a la veracruzana, 214
scallop, with chipotle, 84
shrimp, 84
for tostadas, 84
624 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
seviche, 84–85
de sierra, 83–84
Seville oranges, 340
shark:
panuchos with, 167
stacked tortillas with black beans, tomato sauce and, 161–162
sheets of pork in chile-spice marinade, 59–60
shellfish:
fruits of the sea a la vinagreta, 127
oysters poached with mild vinegar and aromatic spices,
Tabasco-style, 220–222
scallop seviche with chipotle, 84
soup, 63
spicy crab soup, 100–102
see also shrimp
shot glasses, for tequila, 319
shredded beef:
jerky with scrambled eggs and chile, 117–118
salad with avocado and chipotle chile, 85–86
with tomatoes, Northern-style, 131–132
shredded chicken:
barbacoa for taco fillings, 237
in escabeche, 230–231
filling, flavorful, 132
poached chicken, 60–61
shredded jerky:
with scrambled eggs and chile, 117–118
spicy, burritos with, 141–142
shredded meat, adding to soup, 104
shredded pork:
filling, Veracruz-style, 132
picadillo, 133
plantain sopes with, 169
tinga for filling, 249
shredders, 117
shrimp:
adobados, 219
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 625
-ball soup with roasted pepper and tomato, 102–104
cakes, 103
chilpachole, 101–102
chopping, 102, 103
corn soup with, 100
jГ­cama and roasted chiles a la vinagreta, 127
with lime dressing and crunchy vegetables, 127–128
scrambled eggs with, 115
seviche, 84
stacked tortillas with black beans, tomato sauce and, 161–162
with toasted garlic and avocado, 215–216
sierra, seviche de, 83–84
Simon, Kate, 197
Sinaloa, Sinaloa-style dishes:
charcoal-grilled chicken, 225, 228–229
tamal specialties in, 176
skirt steak, 138
charcoal-grilled, 138–139
slaked lime, 346
slivered beef with well-browned onions, 135
slow-steamed goat or lamb with mild chile seasoning, 256–258
smoked chicken salad with avocado and chipotle, 129
smoky:
broth, garbanzo-vegetable soup with fresh avocado and, 97–98
tomato sauce, pork with potatoes, avocado and, 248–249
smooth tomato-chile sauce, 41
snacks, sweet, 282
snack sellers, 29–30
snacks made of corn masa, 119–192
burritos with spicy shredded jerky, 141–142
burritos with variety of fillings, 142
chicken tostadas with fresh vegetables and cream, 163–164
chile-marinated vegetable tostadas, 165–166
chivichangas, 142
crispy-fried tacos, 139–141
flautas of a different sort, 140
Northern-style beef flautas, 140
626 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
panuchos with other traditional toppings, 167
panuchos with picadillo or shark, 167
puffed cakes stuffed with chiles and cheese, 170–172
see also chilaquiles; enchiladas; sopes (crispy masa boats); taco
fillings; tacos; tamal(es); tortilla(s); turnover fillings; turnovers
snook, 212
soft tacos, see taco fillings; tacos, soft
Sonora, Sonoran-style dishes:
chile colorado with powdered chile, 251
escabeche in, 222
game in, 240
sopas:
aguadas vs. secas, 95
de albóndigas de camarón, 102–104
azteca, 97
caldo de pescado, 62–63
caldo tlalpeño, 97–98
chilpachole de jaiba, 100–102
crema de elote, 99–100
de lima, 97
de mariscos, 63
menudo rojo, 109–110
de pescado, 63
tarasca, 97
de tortilla, 94, 96–97
XГіchitl, 98
see also pozole
sopes (crispy masa boats):
with chorizo and fresh toppings, 168–170
plantain, with shredded pork, 169
regional specialties, 169–170
with a variety of toppings, 169
sopes tapatíos, 168–170
sorbete, nieve de, 298, 299–300
soups, 26, 93–110
adding shredded meat to, 104
black bean, 268
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 627
chicken chilpachole, 101
corn, with shrimp, 100
corn, with various flavors, 100
fish, 63
fresh corn chowder with roasted peppers, 99–100
garbanzo-vegetable, with smoky broth and fresh avocado, 97–98
“liquid” vs. “dry,” 95
meals started with, 80, 81
menudo with hominy, 110
pork, chicken and hominy, with ground pumpkin-seeds, 104–106
pork and hominy, with red chile and fresh garnishes, 107–108
pozole verde to begin a meal, 106
red-chile tripe, with fresh garnishes, 109–110
regional specialties, 94–95
shellfish, 63
shrimp-ball, with roasted pepper and tomato, 102–104
shrimp chilpachole, 101–102
simmering picante chiles in, 97
spicy crab, 100–102
toasted tortilla, with fresh cheese and chile pasilla, 96–97
tortilla, with fresh goat cheese, 97
white pozole, 107, 108
as whole meal, 94–95
XГіchitl, 98
sour oranges, 340
Southern Mexico, 23
barbacoa in, 241
bean varieties in, 268
egg dishes in, 112
sopes in, 170
soup specialties in, 94, 97
see also Acapulco; Chiapas; Guerrero; JuchitГЎn, Oaxaca; San
Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas; Tehuantepec, Oaxaca
Spaniards, 15, 16–19, 194, 228
beans and, 260
breads and, 69
cattle and, 240
628 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
chicken and, 224
chorizo and, 53
desserts and, 281, 282
escabeche and, 231
seafood and, 210
veracruzana dishes and, 214
sparkling limeade, 311–312
spice grinders, 22
spices:
aromatic, chicken thighs with vinegar, oil and, 230–231
aromatic, oysters poached with mild vinegar and, Tabasco-style,
220–222
pot-brewed coffee with raw sugar and, 315–316
sweet, minced pork with almonds, raisins and, 132–133
spicy:
crab soup, 100–102
and dark mole with turkey, 197–200
jícama salad with tangerines and fresh coriander, 89–90
scrambled eggs with avocado, bacon and cheese, 115
shredded jerky, burritos with, 141–142
spirited:
horchata, 310
jamaica, 308
Mexican chocolate, 315
spirits, 303, 305–306
adding to ices and ice creams, 298
beer, 305
chorizo with, 56
see also sangria; tequila; wine
squash blossoms, 351
stewed, 148
XГіchitl soup, 98
stacked tortillas:
with shark, black beans and tomato sauce, 161–162
with shrimp, black beans and tomato sauce, 162
steak(s):
for carne asada, 243–244
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 629
marinated, for carne asada, 244–245
skirt, charcoal-grilled, 138–139
stewed:
mushrooms with onions and garlic, 149
squash blossoms, 148
stews:
adobo as, 255
see also mole(s)
“strained” beans:
fried, 270
Yucatecan, 267–268
strawberries:
atole, 317
with cream, 296
custard ice cream, 300
ice, 301
street food, 29–30, 80–81
avocados in, 46
sugar, raw, 349
pecan pie with spices and, 289–291
pot-brewed coffee with spices and, 315–316
sunflower oil, 346
supper, street food for, 29–30
sweet:
fresh-cheese pie, 288–289
fresh-cheese pie with pine nuts and raisins, 288
spices, minced pork with almonds, raisins and, 132–133
tamales, 183–184
Swiss chard:
pork with, 276
quick-fried, chilaquiles with Monterey Jack and, 174
with tomatoes and potatoes, 275–276
swordfish steaks in escabeche, charcoal-grilled, 231
Tabasco, Tabasco-style dishes, 221–222
appetizers in, 80
cheeses in, 327
chocolate in, 303
630 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
egg dishes in, 112
game in, 240
oysters poached with mild vinegar and aromatic spices, 220–222
tortillas in, 73
taco fillings:
azadura with tomatillo, roasted garlic and mustard, 130
beef and green-chile, 131
charcoal-grilled skirt steak, 138–139
chorizo, potato and plantain, 134
cold chicken and avocado with chipotle chile, 128–129
flavorful shredded chicken, 132
fruits of the sea a la vinagreta, 127
grilled chicken with green chiles, 139
minced pork with almonds, raisins and sweet spices, 132–133
minor variations on calabacitas theme, 126
Northern-style picadillo, 133
Northern-style shredded beef with tomatoes, 131–132
Oaxacan market-style grilled pork, 139
Oaxacan picadillo with fried plantain, 133
pan-fried chicken livers with tomatillo sauce, 130–131
pan-fried chile-marinated pork, 136
potatoes, zucchini and rajas in creamy green sauce, 125
potatoes and chorizo, with varied flavors and textures, 134
potatoes and rajas, 124
potatoes with Mexican sausage, 134
red-chile picadillo, 133
scrambled eggs and potatoes in tangy green sauce, 124–125
shredded chicken barbacoa, 237
shredded pork picadillo, 133
shrimp, jГ­cama and roasted chiles a la vinagreta, 127
shrimp with lime dressing and crunchy vegetables, 127–128
slivered beef with well-browned onions, 135
smoked chicken salad with avocado and chipotle, 129
variations on salpicГіn theme, 129
Veracruz-style shredded pork, 132
zucchini and pork with Mexican flavors, 125–126
tacos:
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 631
crispy-fried, 139–141
number to serve per person, 122
regional specialties, 140
soft, see tacos, soft
tortillas for, 121–122
wheat, 142; see also burritos
tacos, 353
al carbón, 137–138
de cazuela y de la plancha, 30, 122–123
dorados, 139–141
de harina, 142; see also burritos
tacos, rellenos para:
arrachera al carbón, 138–139
azadura con salsa verde, 130–131
bistec encebollado, 135
calabacitas con puerco, 125–126
camarones a la vinagreta, 127–128
carne deshebrada a la norteña, 131–132
huevos y papas con rajas en salsa verde, 124–125
papas y chorizo, 134
picadillo oaxaqueño, 132–133
pollo, aguacate y chile chipotle en frío, 128–129
puerco enchilado a la plancha, 136
tacos, soft, 122
with fillings from charcoal grill, 137–138
with fillings from earthenware pot or griddle, 30, 122–123
Taibo, Paco Ignacio, I, 35, 196–197, 198
tamal(es), 175–192
with chicken and green sauce, 181–183
coconut or nut, 184
dough from dried corn for, 71–72
dried-fruit, 184
forming, in banana leaves, 179–180
forming, in cornhusks, 178–179
fresh-corn, 185–186
fresh-corn, with picadillo, 185
fresh-corn, with rajas and cheese, 185
632 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
lard vs. butter in, 178
making, 177–181
Nuevo Léon–style, 186–188
Oaxacan-style, 191–192
pineapple, 184
preparing banana leaves for, 177
preparing cornhusks for, 177
red-tinted, 184
regional specialties, 176–177
steaming, 177–178, 180–181
substitute masa for, 181
sweet, 183–184
with variety of fillings, 182
Yucatecan baked, in banana leaves, 189–191
Yucatecan-style fish, 191–192
tamal(es), 175–192
de cazuela, 190
cernidos, 183
de dulce, 183–184
de elote, 185–186
estilo Nuevo Léon, 186–188
estilo oaxaqueño, 191–192
masa fingida para, 181
masa para, 71–72
pibipollo, 189–191
de pollo y salsa verde, 181–183
Tamales y atoles (VelГЎzquez de LeГіn), 176
tamal parties, 176, 182, 186
tamarind:
brandy sour, 308–309
cooler, 308–309
pods, 351
tamarindo, agua de, 307, 308–309
Tampico, Tamaulipas, Tampico-style dishes:
broiled beef with classic accompaniments, 243–245
chilpacholes in, 102
pipiГЎn in, 227
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 633
sopes in, 170
tangerines, spicy jícama salad with fresh coriander and, 89–90
taquerías, 29–30
tasajo, 58
Tecate beer, 305
techniques:
asar, 21–22
for beans, 262
blanching, 50
boiling, 21
chopping, 35, 102, 103
grinding, 22, 66, 71–72
for ices and ice creams, 298–299
moist-roasting in sealed pot, 256
pureeing, 42–43, 195, 203–204
for rice, 261–262
searing, 22, 135
shredding boiled beef, 131
see also frying
Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, totopos in, 78
tejolotes, 342
teleras, 69
TenochtitlГЎn, 17
tepescuintle, 240
tequila, 303, 306
best brands, 319
how to drink, 319
-lime cocktail (margarita), 320–321
shooters with spicy chaser, 319–320
white-wine sangria with, 322
tequila, 303, 306, 319–321
con sangrita, 319–320
tequileros, 319
tescalate, 303
theobroma, 303
thin-sliced strips of beef, fresh or dried to jerky, 57–59
Three Kings Day, 282
634 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
tinga:
charcoal-grilled chicken, 249
pork with smoky tomato sauce, potatoes and avocado, 248–249
shredded pork, for filling, 249
tinga, 248
poblana, 248–249
toasted tortilla soup with fresh cheese and chile pasilla, 96–97
Toluca, Tolucan-style dishes:
appetizers in, 80
bean specialties in, 270
cactus-paddle dishes in, 47
cheeses in, 327
chile-flavored sausage, 55–57
chorizo in, 53, 54
chorizo with nuts and raisins, 56
taco fillings in, 122–123
vegetables in, 261
Toluca de chorizo (Sanchez GarcГ­a), 54
tomate, 352–353
tomate verde:
guacamole de, 46
see also tomatillo(s)
tomatillo(s), 351–352
all-raw relish, 37
azadura with roasted garlic, mustard and, 130
canned, 39
guacamole with, 46
lamb shank birria with chipotle and, 258
mole, see mole: green
roasting, 39
sauce, see green (tomatillo) sauce
various names for, 43
tomatillo(s):
guacamole de tomate verde, 46
mole verde con pechugas de pollo, 203–205
see also salsa verde
tomato(es), 35, 352–353
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 635
boiling, 352
-chile relish, fresh, 35–36
-colored rice, Mexican (with fresh vegetables), 263–264
fresh, fish fillets with capers, olives and, 212–214
lime-marinated mackerel with green chile and, 83–84
Northern-style shredded beef with, 131–132
rajas with, for filling tamales, 278–279
roasted, red-chile sauce with, 37–38
roasting, 352–353
shrimp-ball soup with roasted pepper and, 102–104
Swiss chard with potatoes and, 275–276
tomato-chile sauces
quick-cooked, 41–42
ranch-style eggs with, 113–114
regional specialties, 42
rustic, 41
smooth, 41
xnipec, 36
Yucatecan, 42
tomato sauces:
savory, pork-stuffed chiles in, 245–247
smoky, pork with potatoes, avocado and, 248–249
stacked tortillas with shark, black beans and, 161–162
tongue a la veracruzana, 213
toritos, Veracruz-style, 312
tortas, 30
de camarГіn fresco, 103
tortilla(s), 68–78
for baked/simmered dishes and soups, 353
casserole with green or red sauce, quick-simmered, 172–174
chile-dipped, frying, 155
corn, 74–76, 353
crisp-fried, 78
for crisp-frying, 353
deep-frying, 78
dough for, see tortilla dough
drying, 78
636 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
for enchiladas, 353
flour, rewarming, 77
griddle-baking, 74–75, 76, 77
half-fried, with black beans, chicken and pickled onions, 166–168
handforming, 73
layered, casserole, 174
masa harina for, 74, 75
puffing, 75
ready-made, quesadillas from, 353
regional specialties, 73–74
to serve at table, 353
soup with fresh goat cheese, 97
stacked, with shark, black beans and tomato sauce, 161–162
stacked, with shrimp, black beans and tomato sauce, 162
steam-heating, 353
for tacos, 121–122
for tacos al carbón, 137–138
toasted, soup, with fresh cheese and chile, 96–97
topped with sweet, browned garlic, 73
unmolding, 74, 75
wheat-flour, 76–77
tortilla(s), 68–78
budГ­n de, 174
chilaquiles verdes o rojos, 172–174
de harina, 76–77
de maíz, 74–76
masa para, 71–72
al mojo de ajo, 73
pan de camarones, 162
pan de cazón, 161–162
panuchos yucatecos con pollo, 166–168
sopa de, 94, 96–97
tortilla dough:
adjusting consistency of, 74
from dried corn, 71–72
griddle-baking, 77
hand-grinding, 71
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 637
plate-style mills for, 72
wheat, 76–77
tortilla presses, 75, 343
tostadas, 78, 163, 353
black-bean, with thick cream, 164
chicken, with fresh vegetables and cream, 163–164
chile-marinated vegetable, 165–166
seviche for, 84
tostadas, 78, 163, 353
de chileajo, 165–166
de pollo, 163–164
tostaditas, 78
totopos, 78
Tradiciones gastronГіmicas oaxaqueГ±as (GuzmГЎn de VГЎsquez
Colmenares), 165, 206, 298, 310
tripe, 241
cleaning and blanching, 109, 110
in menudo with hominy, 110
red-chile soup with fresh garnishes, 109–110
types of, 109
tropical fruit ices and exotic ice creams, 298–299
tuna, 349–350
nieve de, 300–301
tuna steaks in escabeche, charcoal-grilled, 231
turkey, 224
dark and spicy mole with, 197–200
turnover fillings, 145–146
brains with pungent Mexican seasonings, 147
fresh cheese with green chiles, 146
golden-fried brains, 147
potatoes and green chiles, 146
scrambled eggs and green chiles, 146
simple mushroom, 149
stewed mushrooms with onions and garlic, 149
stewed squash blossoms, 148
turnovers, 143–145
crispy wheat-flour, with well-seasoned meat, 150–152
638 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
deep-fried masa, with cheese, 143–145
easy griddle-baked cheese quesadillas, 144–145
empanadas with local flavors, 150
griddle-baked quesadillas, 144
lamb empanadas with fresh coriander, 151
Usumacinta river, 210
vainilla, 353–354
vanilla, 353–354
custard ice cream with cinnamon and, 299–300
-flavored caramel custard, 283–284
veal:
brains with pungent Mexican seasonings, 147
chops a la veracruzana, charcoal-grilled, 214
golden-fried brains, 147
vegetable(s), 260–261
boiling, 165
charcoal-grilled baby onions with lime, 277–278
charcoal-grilled corn with cream, cheese and chile, 272–273
chayotes with toasted garlic, 275
chile-marinated, tostadas, 165–166
crunchy, shrimp with lime dressing and, 127–128
fresh, chicken tostadas with cream and, 163–164
fresh, Mexican tomato-colored rice with, 263–264
fresh corn, fried, 272–273
-garbanzo soup with smoky broth and fresh avocado, 97–98
griddle-fried onions, 277
mixed, salad with lime dressing, 87–88
my favorite rajas, 279
pickled, with chiles, 49
pickled chiles with, 48–49
quick-fried zucchini with toasted garlic and lime, 274–275
rajas as, 278
red-chile enchiladas with cheese and, 155–158
roasted peppers with onions and herbs, 278–279
Swiss chard with tomatoes and potatoes, 275–276
zucchini with roasted peppers, corn and cream, 273–274
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 639
see also specific vegetables
vegetable oils, 346
VelГЎzquez de LeГіn, Josefina, 55, 56, 176, 186, 283
Veracruz, Veracruz-style dishes:
bean specialties in, 270
charcoal-grilled veal chops, 214
chiles in, 331
chipotle sauce in, 38, 39
egg dishes in, 112
Old and New World elements in, 214
pipiГЎn in, 227
salmon “seviche,” 214
seafood in, 209
shredded pork filling, 132
sopes in, 169
taco fillings in, 122
tamal specialties in, 176, 177
tongue, 213
toritos, 312
whole fish, 213
verduras:
acelgas guisadas, 275–276
arroz a la mexicana con, 263–264
calabacitas al mojo de ajo, 274–275
calabacitas con crema, 273–274
cebollitas asadas, 277–278
chayotes al mojo de ajo, 275
elote asado, 272–273
esquites, 272–273
rajas de chile poblano, 278–279
see also specific vegetables
Villalobos, MarГ­a, 191
Villalobos, Sra., 263
vinagre, 354
vinegar, 354
chicken thighs with oil, aromatic spices and, 230–231
640 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
mild, oysters poached with aromatic spices and, Tabascostyle,
220–222
walnut(s), 347
pie with honey, 291
West-Central Mexico, 23
appetizers in, 80
bean varieties in, 268
cactus-paddle dishes in, 47
cheeses in, 327
chicken in, 224
chiles in, 335, 336
jГ­cama salad in, 89
lamb and kid specialties in, 241
pipiГЎn in, 227
pulque in, 305
soup specialties in, 94–95
tamal specialties in, 177
tortillas in, 74
see also Guadalajara; MichoacГЎn; Morelia, MichoacГЎn; Nayarit; San
Luis PotosГ­
Western Mexico, chile-based sauces in, 34–35
wheat-flour:
tortillas, 76–77
turnovers with well-seasoned meat, crispy, 150–152
white pozole, 107, 108
white rice:
with fried plantain, 265
pilaf with corn, roasted chiles and fresh cheese, 264–265
white-wine sangria with tequila, 322
wine, 304, 305–306
red-, cooler with fresh lime, 322
white-, sangria with tequila, 322
Wolfert, Paula, 198
YucatГЎn, Yucatecan-style dishes, 28
baked tamal in banana leaves, 189–191
bean varieties in, 268
Authentic Mexican Twentieth-Anniversary Edition / 641
candies in, 282
chicken thighs with vinegar, oil and aromatic spices, 230–231
chile-based sauces in, 35
chiles in, 331, 335
custards in, 284
egg dishes in, 112
fish tamales, 191–192
French-style breads in, 69
game in, 240
herb and spice mixtures in, 53
moles in, 194
organ specialties in, 241
pibil in, 241
pickled red onions, 50
pipiГЎn in, 227
pit barbecue, 232
pork specialties in, 240
sausage in, 54
shredded-beef salad, 85
sopes in, 170
soup specialties in, 94–95, 97
spicy jícama salad with tangerines and fresh coriander, 89–90
“strained” beans, 267–268, 270
taco specialties in, 123, 128, 140
tamal specialties in, 176
tomato sauce, 42
tortillas in, 73
turkey in, 224
vegetables in, 261
see also Campeche; MГ©rida, YucatГЎn
Yucatecan seasoning pastes, 53, 65–67
achiote, 65, 66–67
mixed-spice, 65–66, 67
ZelayarГЎn, 286
zucchini:
with cream and chicken or cheese, 273–274
and pork with Mexican flavors, 125–126
642 / Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
potatoes and rajas in creamy green sauce, 125
quick-fried, with toasted garlic and lime, 274–275
with roasted peppers, corn and cream, 273–274
“sweating,” 273
About the Authors
RICK BAYLESS is co-owner, with his wife, DEANN, of the perennially
award-winning Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. As a chef and cookbook author, he has won America’s highest
culinary honors, including Humanitarian of the Year. He is host of
the top-rated Public Television series Mexico—One Plate at a Time.
His Frontera and Topolo food products can be purchased coast to
coast.
www.rickbayless.com
Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your
favorite HarperCollins author.
Copyright
AUTHENTIC MEXICAN, TWENTIETH-ANNIVERSARY EDITION. Copyright
В© 1987, 2007 by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless. Illustrations
copyright В© 1987 by John Sandford. Color photographs copyright
В© 2007 by Christopher Hirsheimer. All rights reserved under
International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment
of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive,
non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book
on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted,
down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or
introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in
any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now
known or hereinafter invented, without the express written
permission of HarperCollins e-books.
Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader May 2009
ISBN 978-0-06-185499-6
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